Purple Headlines of the Week: Minnesota Madness, Harrison Smith Speculation, a Bridge QB in 2024?

The Vikings Can Eliminate Their Salary Cap Debt with 1 Move
Nov 20, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith (22) looks on prior to the game against the Dallas Cowboys at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

With the Super Bowl in the books, this week officially marked the first full week of the NFL offseason for all 32 teams.

The Minnesota Vikings have been in the midst of their offseason for awhile, but still, plenty of news occurred over the past seven days for fans to get caught up on. Here is a look at all the purple headlines that you need to know from the past week.

Go Vote for Minnesota Madness

Purple Headlines
Sep 24, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Viktor, the Minnesota Vikings mascot entertains fans before the game against the Los Angeles Chargers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

In case you haven’t already seen or heard about it, PurplePTSD and VikingsTerritory are teaming up to determine which player had the best play of the 2023 Vikings season. The March Madness-esque tournament bracket consists of 16 plays from the first 16 games of the season, and in each matchup, fans will vote for the play that they believe to be the best.

Over the course of the next few weeks, we will be trimming down the list of plays based on all your votes in order to find the No. 1 play of the 2023 season. Then, the player responsible for that play will receive a $1600 donation in their name to The Vikings Foundation.

The first round of voting went live on Friday morning and will last until Tuesday, February 20th at 12 PM Central. Be sure to cast your votes if you haven’t already!

Vikings Analyst Speculates on Harrison Smith’s Future

Sep 10, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith (22) warms up before the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings are facing an uncertain future as they head into the 2024 offseason. They have a number of veterans hitting free agency, and multiple others could end up being cap casualties as the Vikings attempt to fill needs on their roster.

One potential cut this offseason is safety Harrison Smith, who is set to enter his age-35 season and carries a cap hit of over $19 million in 2024. Ben Leber, a former Vikings player and current analyst, recently gave his take on what could happen with Smith in 2024.

“Lots of attention on Kirk and JJ but don’t forget about Hitman,” Leber argued. “Lots of speculation on his future with Vikes. If not the Vikes, makes sense that he’ll make that Cowboys defense even better.”

Mike Zimmer recently took over the defensive coordinator position for the Cowboys, so this type of move would reunite the coach and player in Dallas.

Bridge QB for Vikings in 2024?

Jan 7, 2024; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Sam Darnold (14) and wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) look on during the second quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

If the Vikings don’t re-sign Kirk Cousins this offseason, they will have to figure out a new path at their quarterback position. Tom Pelissero of NFL Network discussed that potential path on the morning of the Super Bowl, alluding to the idea that Minnesota could pursue a bridge QB in 2024.

During an episode of NFL Insiders on NFL Network, Pelissero said, “[The Vikings] would like to re-sign Kirk Cousins, who is set to become a free agent in March, but my anticipation is Cousins will have a strong market even at age-35 coming off a torn Achilles. […] If in fact the price tag goes too high, the Vikings likely would pursue a more economical veteran. One guy that’s a possibility? Sam Darnold, the 49ers current backup.”

After being selected with the third overall pick back in 2018 by the New York Jets, Darnold has had a very tumultuous career to this point. The QB spent three seasons in New York, going 13-25 as a starter, and completing 59.8% of his passes for 8097 yards, 45 TDs, and 39 interceptions. He then spent the 2022 season with the Carolina Panthers before heading to the San Francisco 49ers in 2023.

Darnold certainly wouldn’t be a popular option among Vikings fans, but the argument in favor of the former Jet could be the fact that he is still a relatively young player (he turns 27 in June), and the Vikings would absolutely be the best offense he’s ever played in outside of this past season in San Francisco. Perhaps Minnesota can be a Geno Smith/Seahawks situation for Darnold to resurrect his career.

In Case You Missed It…

Nov 12, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson (87) celebrates his touchdown against the New Orleans Saints in the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

As usual, we have an extra list of reading material for the especially studious Vikings fans. Happy reading!

Editor’s Note: Statistics for this article were found via Pro Football Reference.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.