Purple Headlines of the Week: An Underrated Signing, Vikings Add More Defensive Help, A Plan B in the Draft?

Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones (33) leaves the field after their wild card playoff game Sunday, January 14, 2024 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The Green Bay Packers beat the Dallas Cowboys 48-32.

Another week of the NFL offseason has come and gone, and more Vikings headlines need to be unpacked.

The Vikings not only finalized their coaching staff for the upcoming season and continued their draft evaluation process, but they brought in more free agent signings and may have bigger plans in front of them. Here is a look at all the purple headlines that you may have missed throughout another busy week.

A Free Agency Signing that Could Punch Above Its Weight Class

Vikings Headlines
January 20, 2024; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones (33) celebrates after a two point conversion against the San Francisco 49ers during the third quarter in a 2024 NFC divisional round game at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings signed RB Aaron Jones a couple weeks ago, continuing the tradition of poaching popular Packers for the final years of their prime. Jones is a 29-year-old running back and dealt with injuries that kept him sidelined for a good chunk of the 2023 season.

However, Jones could end up being a very positive signing for the Vikings, particularly considering the fact that Minnesota had very little running game to rely on this past season. Our own Kyle Joudry detailed why this could be the case in a recent article, pointing out that even despite the injuries, Jones put together some very impressive rushing totals down the stretch of 2023. And, in the past, he has been a touchdown machine while also being a very efficient rusher. At $7 million in total money, Jones may end up being a bargain for the Vikings.

Vikings Sign Four New Defenders

Nov 12, 2023; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Houston Texans cornerback Shaquill Griffin (0) reacts after intercepting the ball against the Cincinnati Bengals in the second half at Paycor Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings spent the first week of free agency focusing on the defensive side of the ball, and that trend continued this past week. Minnesota added three new defenders to the team to help fill out some of the depth that they either lost from 2023 or lacked altogether. First, the Vikings signed Jonah Williams to help fill some depth on the defensive line.

Then, the Vikings added new help in their secondary by signing CB Shaquill Griffin. A former third-round pick by the Seattle Seahawks, Griffin has appeared in 89 games with 79 starts, and he has totaled 366 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, one sack, 64 passes defended, seven interceptions, and a forced fumble. He will be valuable veteran depth for the Vikings at the position.

Then, Minnesota followed that up with a pair of linebackers in OLB Jihad Ward and ILB Kamu Grugier-Hill. Ward is coming off a career-high five sacks with the New York Giants during the 2023 season and may end up filling the D.J. Wonnum role as a depth pass rusher behind new starters Jonathan Greenard and Andrew Van Ginkel.

A DT with the 11th Overall Pick?

Texas Longhorns defensive lineman Byron Murphy II (90) celebrates after a sack against TCU Horned Frogs quarterback Josh Hoover (10) in the second quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, November. 11, 2023, at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas.

Just about everyone is expecting the Minnesota Vikings to trade up and select a quarterback in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft. However, the Vikings might have a plan B in case those trade plans fall through, and they may revolve around Texas DT Byron Murphy. The Vikings had folks in attendance for Texas’ pro day, and they may remain interested in the defensive tackle.

Tony Pauline wrote of the pro day, which took place on Thursday, “The Bears, Falcons, and Colts, met with Murphy in the past two days, as did the Vikings. Word since the Shrine Bowl was that the Vikings would take Murphy with the 11th pick of Round 1. Obviously the focus has shifted to the quarterback position. Yet the feeling they were giving off at pro day is that Murphy would be their contingency plan at 11 if no signal caller is available.”

Murphy has been a ferocious presence on Texas’ defensive line over the past few years, and his pass rushing ability would be a welcomed addition to Minnesota’s defensive line. If he ends up being the consolation prize, it should still be considered a great add for Minnesota.

In Case You Missed It…

Dec 24, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell celebrates after Minnesota Vikings running back Ty Chandlers (32) touchdown against the Detroit Lions during the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-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.