Vikings Rumors: The Rookies Knowing “Beep,” Excited about Running, and League-Leading Dead Money

Vikings Get a Decent Grade
Dec 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah looks on before the game against the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

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 a Vikings coordinator saying the rookies don’t know too much, an odd response from Sam Darnold, and the dead money being the largest in the league.

Vikings Rumors: 05.29.2024

Rumor #1 — The Vikings Rookies Know Very Little

To be clear, Matt Daniels didn’t claim that the rookies know nothing. Instead, he claimed that “they don’t know beep.” The self-censored word — literally saying beep — prompted the Minnesota media to laugh a bit.

Basically anyone who makes it to the NFL does so after playing several years of football. But not only is there participation in football, there’s high-level accomplishment. The best from college football are the ones who get drafted, so it’s not as if the players who are being added possess no understanding of the game.

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals
Dec 1, 2019; Glendale, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Rams assistant special teams coach Matt Daniels against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The point that Daniels is making, though, still stands: the young guys have a lot to learn, even if there’s some initial ignorance from the players themselves about how far they still have to go.

“What I love so much about the rookies,” Daniels says in his broader answer, “is the opportunity to develop ’em. They come in thinking that they know so much and then they realize that they don’t know beep.”

Rumor #2 — Sam Darnold is Excited about the Vikings’ … Run Game?

Saying Justin Jefferson would have made sense. Having one’s blind side protected by Christian Darrisaw would have been sensible enough. But the run game?

Sam Darnold worked through a variety of topics at last week’s press conference. When he was asked about what excited him about the Vikings’ offense, Darnold started with Minnesota’s run game: “The way that, obviously, they run the football.” Immediately thereafter, the quarterback praises “the way that they spread the ball out, too.” He moves into a reflection of the “tempo offense that was used last year against” San Francisco, Darnold’s former employer.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Carolina Panthers
Oct 17, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold (14) fakes a handoff during the first quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The surprise of the answer largely stems from Minnesota’s struggle to run the football. In 2023, the Vikings finished at 29th in the NFL by piling up 1,553 rushing yards. The rushing touchdowns were in a tie for last place — 7 TDs on the ground — but the yards-per-carry average was a bit better, coming in at a 4.0 average (21st in the NFL).

Quite possibly, Darnold some saw positives in the way Minnesota stuck to the run while the Vikings were defeating the 49ers last year. And, perhaps, there’s optimism about where things are heading with Aaron Jones being the main runner.

Rumor #3 — The Vikings Lead the NFL in Dead Cap Space

Not really a reason to throw a parade, is it?

Per Over the Cap, the Vikings are digesting $57,370,208 in dead money. There are three other teams coming in above the $50 million threshold — the Bills, Jets, and Chargers — and then three more clearing the $40 million mark — the Panthers, Packers, and Buccaneers.

The main culprit for the large sum being left over is the hit from the Kirk Cousins deal.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings Training Camp
Jul 28, 2022; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah looks on during training camp at TCO Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The former QB1’s contract left behind a $28.5 million dead money charge. It’s the single largest cap hit for Minnesota in 2024. Brian O’Neill is the only player to clear $20 million, tipping the scales at a $22,930,876.

Cousins, of course, isn’t alone. Danielle Hunter’s contract left behind roughly $14.9 million while Marcus Davenport left behind $6.8 million. Just Cousins, Hunter, and Davenport push the Vikings beyond $50 million.

The Vikings will be looking to have a much more modest dead money total in 2025.

Editor’s Note: Information from Pro Football Reference and Over the Cap helped with this piece.

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.