Vikings Rumors: The Left Guard Evasion, Blockbuster Trade Incoming, & 2025 Financial Abundance

Nov 5, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Brandon Powell (4) celebrates after a touchdown with guard Dalton Risner (66) against the Atlanta Falcons in the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-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 possibly looking to avoid sinking major money into the left guard position, the (potential) upcoming blockbuster trade, and financial abundance in 2025.

Vikings Rumors: 03.20.2024

Rumor #1 — The Vikings’ GM Hints that He Won’t Be Bringing Dalton Risner Back

Dalton Risner is a good football player, a strong starter at left guard who can help a team win.

Reasonably enough, the veteran lineman is looking for a payday that’s reflective of that reality. He took to social media to express what he’s looking to get in his next contract: “Just In case anyone was wondering… I’ve started 73 games over 5 years in the league… missing only 4 games due to injury… earning the starting spot amongst 3 different coaching staffs… I’ve never asked for a bag, simply just a starting guard contract.”

Sensibly enough, KFAN’s Paul Allen brought his conversation around to the unsigned left guard in his recent discussion with Kwesi Adofo-Mensah. The GM wouldn’t commit to bringing the LG back: “Every option is on the table. That’s all I can say about that.”

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Atlanta Falcons
Nov 5, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Brandon Powell (4) celebrates after a touchdown with guard Dalton Risner (66) against the Atlanta Falcons in the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Allen doesn’t press the GM on the issue, instead pivoting toward Aaron Jones.

So far, Adofo-Mensah has been reluctant to hand over major money to interior offensive lineman. Garrett Bradbury got a medium-sized deal from the Vikings last offseason, coming back on a 3-year pact that added up to a total of $15.75 million. Otherwise, he has leaned on low-priced veterans like Chris Reed and Austin Schlottmann alongside players on their rookie contract like Ed Ingram.

Blake Brandel recently got a pretty beefy deal, one that attaches him to Minnesota’s roster for a trio of seasons and a total of $9.5 million. Josh Frey explores the possibility of Brandel getting the nod at LG in an earlier piece on PurplePTSD.

Rumor #2 — Another Blockbuster Trade is Coming Up

The best guess from the NFL’s various analysts and prognosticators is that Adofo-Mensah isn’t done with the major trades.

Todd McShay offers his opinion: “The Vikings don’t make this move unless they’ve already had serious discussions with a specific team re: what it will take to move up for the QB they desire (presumably not named Caleb or Jayden). So is it NE at 3 (for Maye)? Or a team picking a couple/few spots down (for JJ)?”

To clarify, McShay is talking about Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels, Drake Maye, and J.J. McCarthy. The final two names seem like the likeliest to be Minnesota targets, per McShay.

Nov 11, 2023; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Drake Maye (10) signals the Tar Heels will be going for a two point conversion after scoring a touchdown in the second overtime at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

And then Jordan Reid offers this thought: “Love the move from Kwesi. The #Vikings are clearly loading up for a trade up for a QB. They’re also a Dalton Risner or KJ Osborn signing away from acquiring two extra third round comp picks in 2025 (Cousins/Hunter). Giving up next years second rounder was an easy decision.”

After Reid sent along that thought, Osborn was signed in New England. His point about adding comp picks in 2025 and thus being willing to aggressively move up the board in 2024 makes a lot of sense.

The Vikings have quite a bit of QB uncertainty. Partner that reality with the team sitting on a lot of draft capital and an offense loaded with skill. And then there’s the presence of a new(ish) regime that’s likely looking to bring in a youngster at some point in the not-too-distant future. The purple dot connecting about trading up to snag a high-end passer makes a lot of sense, folks.

Rumor #3 — The Vikings’ 2025 Budget is Huge

As of right now, that’s certainly the case.

The fine folks at Over the Cap suggest that the Minnesota Vikings are sitting in 10th for cap space in 2025. The projection involves Minnesota moving into a year with more than $90 million. Only eleven teams have more than $90M in projected room and the Vikings are among them.

Obviously, we’re dealing with a moving target. The players in the upcoming draft class are all going to receive four-year deals, with the opening-round selection(s) having a 5th-year option. And then there’s the UDFA batch, some of whom will (likely) be around on the 2025 budget. Oh, and some of the FA signings will take a bite out of next year’s total.

in 2023 Offseason
Jul 27, 2022; Eagan, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah looks on at TCO Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

And, of course, that’s not even dealing with some of the most obvious cap charges. Certainly, the hope far and wide is that Justin Jefferson will take a hearty bite out of the 2025 cap space due to the WR1 arriving at a large extension. Similarly, extensions for players like Harrison Phillips, Byron Murphy, and Camryn Bynum could lead to dwindling financial flexibility

But, of course, that’s a two-way street. The second-largest cap hit in 2025 belongs to Harrison Smith, who has an upcoming $22 million charge. Any chance that actually becomes a reality or do the player & team find some sort of resolution? A simple cut would free up $18.1 million in cap room. Restructuring the contracts for players like Brian O’Neill and T.J. Hockenson can similarly free up money.

Like a ping pong ball being sent across a table, the Vikings’ 2025 budget is going to get tossed back and forth. Even adding major money to the books, though, won’t undermine the general outlook of financial abundance for the 2025 Minnesota Vikings.

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.