Vikings Rumors: Hunter Hitting the Highway, Vrabel as a Viking, & Cousins Reiterates Timeline

Syndication: The Tennessean
Denny Simmons / The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK

Since we’re officially into the portion of the year when Vikings rumors are arriving fast and furious, we’ll be highlighting some of the purple rumblings.

The “Vikings Rumor Wrangle” is a series that keeps readers informed on what’s being whispered about in Vikings Land. In this iteration, we discuss Danielle Hunter hitting the highway, Mike Vrabel possibly becoming a Vikings coach, and Kirk Cousins once again explaining his free agency timeline.

Vikings Rumors: 02.07.2024

Rumor #1 — Danielle Hunter is Going to be Hitting the Highway

Any chance Minnesota’s EDGE1 — Mr. Danielle Hunter — takes his talent elsewhere? Of course. Returning is most likely but a departure could happen.

In fact, the veteran discussed the precise possibility while at the Pro Bowl. Grant Gordon from relays the word: “My job, like I said, is to do my job. And I’m gonna make sure I stay in shape and whatever is best available for me, I’ll take that.” Translation: Hunter did excellently on the field during the regular season. He’ll now lean on his agent to secure a good deal.

Sep 10, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Rachaad White (1) is tackled by Minnesota Vikings linebacker Danielle Hunter (99) and defensive end Dean Lowry (94) and linebacker Ivan Pace Jr. (40) as guard Luke Goedeke (67) attempts to block during the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Look at how he frames things: “Just letting everything play its course. I did my job. Everything’s in my agent’s hands and my team — and whomever it is that’s out there.”

Seeing Hunter leave would be a major problem for the Vikings. Minnesota, though, wants to keep their man. Don’t ever forget this important truth: as soon as Minnesota says goodbye to Hunter, Minnesota begins looking for someone precisely like Hunter. Better to keep him.

If/when Hunter gets re-added into the purple fold, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah will then need to add at least two or three more pass rushers who are capable of helping out during games.

Rumor #2 — Is Mike Vrabel Going to Get Hired in Minnesota?

Unlikely. After all, Kevin O’Connell is still firmly entrenched as the team’s head coach and his seat is barely warm (if at all). The theory is simply that some past connections could lead to the Vikings’ coaching staff getting an addition. He would be an assistant, not a replacement.

Vrabel is massive (more on that in a moment), which makes sense given that he was an NFL linebacker for fourteen seasons. From 2001-08, Vrabel played for the Patriots. Who else was employed in New England during that time? Well, Brian Flores was part of the organization. So, too, was Kevin O’Connell, who was drafted in 2008 by New England.

Might they welcome Vrabel onto the coaching staff? He would have some wonderful insight to offer. Again, nothing is imminent and nor has there been firm reporting on the idea. Rather, there’s simply some purple dot connecting.

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars
Jan 7, 2023; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel leaves the field after losing to the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Finally, consider an incredibly odd bit of news from Dianna Russini of The Athletic. She reports that an NFL GM said part of the reason — even if it’s a very minor one — why Vrabel didn’t get hired is because he’s … large. He’s listed at 6’4″ and 261 pounds. Again, the man used to play linebacker in the NFL with occasional dalliances into the tight end position.

Some owners, per Russini, don’t like his size. Apparently, his “physical build” and him being “a very large human being” worked against him. Can’t make this stuff up, folks.

If the man can help give the Vikings a competitive advantage, Adofo-Mensah and O’Connell should carve out a spot on the coaching staff.

Rumor #3 — Kirk Cousins Needs to Wait Until March Like the Rest of Us

Indeed, that’s the word from the man himself.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Cousins clarifies that he’d be willing to negotiate earlier but doesn’t really have the chance: “Many people who ask, including friends and family, are surprised to learn that the conversations really don’t begin until March. So, I would love to know where I’m going, I would love to get those conversations going now.”

“I really have to wait,” Cousins notes, “until the first couple weeks of March to begin those conversations.” Kind of wild to think, but even someone at Cousins’ level needs to be patient.

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings
Dec 31, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) sounds the gjallarhorn before the game against the Green Bay Packers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

In the meantime, all anyone can do is wait. The QB is doing his utmost to ensure his body is right. He’ll also be having plenty of conversations with Mike McCartney — his agent, not Mike McCarthy, the Dallas head coach — about what kind of deal will work (presumably, the Cowboys coach isn’t much help in this area, at least not for Cousins).

In Eagan, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell are working through a variety of QB scenarios as they try to determine the best path forward. Yes, they’re each on record saying they want the QB back, but there will be limits to how high they’re willing to go with compensation.

So, buckle up for…more waiting. When March arrives, things are going to move quickly.

K. Joudry is the Senior Editor for Vikings Territory and PurplePTSD. He has been covering the Vikings full time since the summer of 2021. He can be found on Twitter and as a co-host for Notes from the North, a humble Vikings podcast.