Vikings Rumors: No Great Guards, TE Extravaganza, and Defeating the Horror Monster

Oct 1, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) reacts after scoring a touchdown in the third quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-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 the Vikings not having great guards, the tight end position getting a ton of attention, and the horror monster always coming back.

Vikings Rumors: 06.12.2024

Rumor #1 — The Vikings Don’t Have Great Guards

Doesn’t qualify as much of a surprise, does it?

Basically anyone following the Vikings will tell you that the tackles are excellent but the interior offensive line needs a bit of work. A recent piece from PFF brings the issue to the fore by completely omitting the Vikings from their top 32 guards in the NFL.

Aug 20, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Ty Chandler (32) celebrates with Minnesota Vikings guard Ed Ingram (67) after scoring a touchdown during the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The closest Minnesota gets to a representative is seeing Ezra Cleveland included. The issue, of course, is that Mr. Cleveland — a great athlete who is still only 26 — no longer plays in Minnesota after getting traded to Jacksonville. Blake Brandel, Ed Ingram, Dan Feeney, and Dalton Risner are the current main options to play guard.

With Risner back, the Vikings are in a better spot now than they were even a week or two ago. Even still, this could be a weak spot on the roster.

Rumor #2 — The Vikings are Loading Up at Tight End

The T.J. Hockenson absence is a major deal.

Part of the response has been to completely bring back last year’s depth options. Josh Oliver, Johnny Mundt, and Nick Muse are all back. In undrafted free agency, there was the addition of Trey Knox. And then the Vikings dipped into the International Player Pathway program to get Sammis Reyes onto the team.

Nov 27, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson (87) reacts with tight end Josh Oliver (84) and guard Dalton Risner (66) after a touchdown against the Chicago Bears during the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The work didn’t stop there, though. Veteran Robert Tonyan has been added, as well. He’s going to be leaned on to do some damage as a pass catcher. And then N’Keal Harry, a wide receiver with tremendous size, has been kicked inside to tight end.

All of this work is taking place within the context of Hockenson potentially needing to miss time. The Vikings think the TE spot is important and that Hockenson is excellent. But with Hockenson not in a great spot with his health, the Vikings are responding by ratcheting up the competition at the position.

Rumor #3 — Like a Monster in a Horror Movie, the Trade Jefferson Rumor Never Dies

Kevin O’Connell is doing his best, folks.

Like a protagonist in a horror flick, Mr. O’Connell is trying to defeat the monster. Every time it gets knocked down, though, it just keeps getting back up. Run fast, lock the door behind you, and do all sorts of things to get away from the danger. Somehow, the Jefferson rumor just keeps coming back.

Vikings Set Training Camp Schedule
Jul 28, 2022; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell and wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) talk during training camp at TCO Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

O’Connell, God bless him, has tried yet again to defeat the monster. His press conference thoughts are the latest example.

Consider just some of what he had to say about Jefferson and a potential trade in a press conference from last week: “Some people have sources far and wide, but I would say amongst the leadership, amongst the decision makers, the people that are directly involved with the situation, there really was not one time that [a trade] was ever discussed, game planned, contingency planned.”

Hopefully, the topic doesn’t come up again for a long time. Justin Jefferson is under contract for five more seasons with the Vikings. In 2024, Jefferson will have a cap hit sitting at just $8,612,600.

Editor’s Note: Information from 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.