Vikings Rumors: The Tannehill Thrill, A Great Problem in MIN, and an Old Friend for RB3

Nov 21, 2021; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) hands the ball to running back Adrian Peterson (8) against the Houston Texans during pre-game warm ups at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

Even though we’re officially into the portion of the year when Vikings rumors are slowing down, we’ll still 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 Ryan Tannehill’s free agency, Minnesota navigating a great problem with their young talent, and re-adding an old friend for RB3 duty.

Vikings Rumors: 07.03.2024

Rumor #1 — If Disaster Strikes, the NFL’s Best Remaining FA QB is Ryan Tannehill

Well, that’s the theory.

First up are the thoughts from Kevin O’Connell, someone who has first-hand knowledge of how a QB room’s health can get turned upside down. “Most importantly, we played four [quarterbacks] last year,” O’Connell explained on June 12th, “including one guy who was not in our building throughout the offseason or training camp and relied on him to come in and win a game and then try to play it out from there. So I have total understanding of we only control so much in this whole thing.”

There’s wisdom in O’Connell’s reflections. The Vikings were boasting a nice blend of youth and experience in the trio of Kirk Cousins, Nick Mullens, and Jaren Hall. Injuries ran amok on the group, though, leading to the Joshua Dobbs trade and subsequent wild ride from Week 9 onward.

A Look at the Lions in Week 14
Nov 13, 2022; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) gets instrucyion from head coach Kevin O’Connell in the first quarter game against the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Fast forward into 2024 and the Vikings have reshaped their quarterback position. The group is headlined by Sam Darnold and J.J. McCarthy. Back for more are Mr. Mullens and Mr. Hall. Pretty good depth, right?

It would appear so, and yet we know that sometimes wild things happen (like Joe Flacco leading the Browns into the playoffs). In other words, strange things can happen, even if they’re very unlikely. Anyone who has followed the Vikings for the past 10-15 years can tell tall tales about QB situations involving Sam Bradford, Teddy Bridgewater, Matt Cassel, Josh Freeman, Case Keenum, Donovan McNabb, Kellen Mond, Sean Mannion, and so on.

If disaster hit, the Vikings could theoretically pick up the phone and call Tannehill’s agent, onboarding the experienced QB to patch up an ailing position. Fingers crossed Minnesota proceeds injury-free and all of the chatter is just a far-fetched hypothetical.

Rumor #2 — The Vikings are Working Through a Great Problem

When a team uses a 1st-Round pick on a player, the hope is that they’re bringing in an impact guy for a decade. Lately, that “problem” has been manifesting itself in Minnesota.

Justin Jefferson has been a historically-great receiver. The end result was a super long negotiation that culminated in a historic deal for the Vikings’ WR1. A while back, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah referred to needing to extend Jefferson as a “champagne problem,” an intentionally paradoxical statement that underscores how the complexity of the contract stalemate was one that was worth celebrating.

Nov 21, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) and offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw (71) and wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) and guard Ezra Cleveland (72) in action against the Green Bay Packers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

But while it wouldn’t be fair to call him historically great — elite? — Christian Darrisaw has been very good. Minnesota thus needs to find a way to pay their stud LT1 even through they’re still working with essentially three years of team control (Year 4 of the rookie contract, the 5th-year option, and a possible franchise tag).

No doubt, being at a point where Darrisaw has been so good that he needs a new deal is a wonderful problem. Minnesota would be lucky to see every 1st-Round selection present that kind of conundrum.

Rumor #3 — The Vikings Will Reinforce their RB Spot with an Old Friend

Tip of the cap to Charley Walters of The Pioneer Press. He had the scoop (relayed by PurplePTSD‘s Janik Eckardt): “If running back Cam Akers, recovering from Achilles surgery last November, passes an upcoming physical, look for the free agent to re-sign with the Vikings.”

Cam Akers could once again be a Vikings RB. In all likelihood, his job would be to shore up the RB3 spot, an area that could become more important if either of Aaron Jones and/or Ty Chandler go down. In that scenario, the RB3 would all of the sudden be elevated and need to do some heavy lifting in a game.

Oct 23, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Cam Akers (31) runs with the ball against the San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa (97) in the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Eckardt discussed the situation. “It remains to be seen how much is left of Akers’ once-exciting explosiveness,” Eckardt explains, “but he is familiar with the coaches, the scheme, and many of his teammates. In addition to that, Akers will be cheap; the veteran minimum is a plausible salary.”

Whoever is under center will benefit from a strong ground game. If Akers can help — especially for cheap — then a deal makes sense.

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.