Vikings Rumors

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/19/23

Today’s minor moves:

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

Tennessee Titans

Michael Dogbe, a former seventh-round pick, got into 40 games for the Cardinals through the first four seasons of his career. This included 2021 and 2022 campaigns where he appeared in 29 games, collecting 55 tackles and one sack. He caught on with the Texans last week and proceeded to appear in about 25 percent of the team’s defensive snaps this past weekend.

Kyle Peko will bring 31 games of experience to the Titans defensive line. The veteran has already been promoted by the Titans twice this season and started both of his appearances, collecting four tackles. He’ll be taking the spot of Jayden Peevy, who got into two games across two seasons with the organization.

Vikings, G Dalton Risner Agree To Deal

One of the top free agents still on the open market has found a home. Guard Dalton Risner has agreed to a deal with the Vikings, as first reported by Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. 9News’ Mike Klis adds the one-year pact includes $2.5MM guaranteed and can reach a value of up to $4MM.

Risner was one of the best O-linemen in the 2023 free agent class, particularly amongst interior blockers. The 28-year-old saw a number of other guards ink lucrative deals at the onset of free agency – including Ben Powers, who is in place as Denver’s new left guard starter. Risner himself remained unsigned through the summer, and it was not until July that he reportedly picked up interest regarding a deal.

That included a visit with the Vikings, but no deal came about as a result. Minnesota has run into injury troubles up front to begin the campaign, however, and they have now circled back to the former second-rounder as an in-season addition. Risner’s preference was to join the Vikings, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler notes, and he will now have the opportunity to resume his career and boost his 2024 free agent stock.

The Kansas State alum logged 62 starts across his four Broncos campaigns, proving to be durable along the way. Risner drew consistent PFF evaluations during that span, with his pass protection receiving encouraging marks. He will look to maintain his level of play on a Vikings O-line which has seen Oli Udoh go down for the season while also dealing with injuries to left tackle Christian Darrisaw and center Garrett Bradbury

Ezra Cleveland and Ed Ingram are in place as the Vikings’ guard starters. It will be interesting to see if Risner unseats either of them for a first-team role or serves in a depth capacity along the interior. In any event, Minnesota has acquired a reinforcement up front while allowing Risner to land a new gig following his lengthy free agent stay.

Vikings OL Oli Udoh Out For Season

Late in Thursday night’s game, the Vikings needed to turn to their third-string left tackle. With Christian Darrisaw on the sidelines, Oli Udoh had stepped in. But what turned out to be a serious quad injury led him off the field as well.

David Quessenberry finished the narrow loss to the Eagles at left tackle. The veteran looks likely to be bumped up a spot on the Vikings’ depth chart soon. Udoh suffered what turned out to be a torn quad tendon, Kevin O’Connell said Friday (via the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Ben Goessling). The backup blocker is out for the season.

The Vikings re-signed Udoh in March, giving the former guard starter a one-year, $2.58MM deal. The team fully guaranteed the pact at that point. While Udoh collected a bit of cash to stay in Minnesota, his career will pause for an extended period.

Udoh started 16 games at right guard for the Vikings in 2021, but the team drafted Ed Ingram in the 2022 second round to replace him. Once Ingram won that job, Udoh shifted to a role as a swing tackle. He replaced Brian O’Neill on the right side to close last season, after the veteran starter suffered a major injury, and started in place of Darrisaw against the Eagles. Minnesota played without both Darrisaw and center Garrett Bradbury against Philadelphia.

The Vikings added Quessenberry shortly after the Bills released him on roster-cutdown day. Quessenberry, 33, has made 26 starts in his career; 17 of those came with the Titans in 2021. He served as the Bills’ swing tackle last season but saw rookie UDFA Ryan Van Demark beat him out for the job this year. The Vikings gave the seventh-year veteran an opportunity, however, and may need to rely on him as the top backup to Darrisaw and O’Neill going forward. O’Connell is optimistic Darrisaw returns for Week 3, Kevin Seifert of notes.

Vikings’ Danielle Hunter Addresses 2018 Contract, Offseason Trade Talk

For much of the offseason, it appeared as though Danielle Hunter‘s time with the Vikings would be coming to an end. Instead, team and player reached a compromise for the 2023 campaign, something the veteran edge rusher recently addressed.

Hunter skipped OTAs and minicamp, then staged a hold-in during training camp in the hopes of leveraging a raise from the $5.5MM he was originally due in 2023. That effort came amidst reports that a trade sending him out of Minnesota was being considered. Such a move would have been in line with much of the team’s offseason, one which was dominated by the departure of several veteran players. The Vikings were indeed active in the trade market amongst pass rushers before working out a new Hunter agreement.

That pact – which includes $17MM in guaranteed money and a no-tag clause – will keep the three-time Pro Bowler in place for at least one more season. It also allowed him to move up the financial pecking order amongst edge defenders, something made necessary by the position’s upward market in the years following his $14.4MM-per-year contract being signed in 2018. When speaking about his second Vikings deal, Hunter expressed no regret about the long-term commitment.

“I signed that deal when I was 23 years old,” he said, via Mark Craig of the Minneapolis Star Tribune“I mean, look at this picture: Most of the guys who come into this league are 23 when they sign their rookie deals. I came into this league at 20 years old, so I don’t regret anything. I’m here now, Year 9, still with my team. I love everybody. I play for my teammates. And I’m still only 28 years old.”

Despite frequently being mentioned in trade talks through the offseason, Hunter added that he never asked to be moved. His 2022 performance (10.5 sacks, 34 pressures) helped confirm his return to form after missing all of the 2020 season and much of 2021. His production thus would have made him a prime extension candidate for an acquiring team, but instead he will play out at least one more year with the only only franchise he has been with in the NFL.

“This is a great organization, and they love me here,” he said. “If anything were to have happened, it was out of my control. I love the Vikings. This is the only thing I know.”

OL Notes: Vikings, Bengals, Pats, Nijman

Garrett Bradbury suffered a back injury last season, and the Vikings center saw his absence extended after he aggravated the malady in a car accident. Bradbury missed the Vikings’ final five regular-season games but returned for the team’s wild-card loss. The Vikings circled back to the former first-round pick in March, re-signing him to a three-year, $15.75MM deal. That contract becomes a pay-as-you go accord after 2023, and Bradbury has run into familiar trouble. The Vikings ruled out the fifth-year center for their Thursday-night game in Philadelphia due to a back injury.

We felt positive about him, and he’s done everything and had no issues whatsoever through a pretty physical training camp for us to feel really good about it,” Kevin O’Connell said (via ESPN’s Kevin Seifert) of Bradbury’s back issue. “It’s just how this game goes sometimes, and he’s a tough guy, big part of the interior of our offensive line and we’ll hope to get him back as soon as we can.”

Austin Schlottmann, who returned last week after a broken leg ended his 2022 season, is set to start at center against the Eagles. Here is the latest from the O-line landscape:

  • The Bengals completed an unexpected transaction this week, releasing La’el Collins from the reserve/PUP list. The team had given Collins a three-year, $21MM deal to step in at right tackle, which he did for 15 games. But ACL and MCL tears ended his 2022 season in Week 16 and prevented him from starting this season on time. The Bengals have Jonah Williams at right tackle opposite big-ticket UFA addition Orlando Brown Jr., but Jackson Carman — who replaced Williams at LT in the playoffs last season — is not the top backup any longer. D’Ante Smith, a 2021 fourth-round pick, is positioned as Cincinnati’s swing tackle now, Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic notes (subscription required). Carman has started two playoff games but lost three position battles in his three training camps. Viewed as a project coming out of East Carolina, Smith has played 56 career offensive snaps.
  • Reliability questions surrounded the Patriots‘ offensive line, and the team responded accordingly when setting its 53-man roster. Before Riley Reiff ended up on IR, the Patriots submitted an initial 53 with 11 O-linemen. No other team’s first 53 included that many, as Mike Reiss of observes. Only seven teams kept 10 blockers, though that is where New England’s contingent stands after the Reiff move. The Pats needed to use this depth early. Calvin Anderson, who came off the Pats’ reserve/non-football illness list late in the preseason, started at right tackle in Week 1. Guards Cole Strange and Michael Onwenu were out, moving fourth- and fifth-round rookies — Sidy Sow, Atonio Mafi — into the lineup. Onwenu and Strange have each logged two limited practices this week, though both Sow and left tackle Trent Brown suffered concussions in the opener, leaving their Week 2 statuses in doubt.
  • The Commanders, Packers and Vikings each restructured an O-line deal recently. Washington created $6MM in cap space by moving $7.5MM of Charles Leno‘s base salary into a signing bonus and adding three void years, per the Washington Post’s Nicki Jhabvala. Green Bay topped that by adding four void years to Yosh Nijman‘s deal, creating $2.54MM in cap space, ESPN’s Field Yates tweets. This proves interesting due to Nijman being on a second-round RFA tender; he is due to be a 2024 free agent. Minnesota added $9.99MM in space by restructuring Brian O’Neill‘s contract, per Yates.

AFC East Notes: Dolphins, Jets, Thornton

The 2019 draft produced several long-running partnerships between defensive tackles and the teams that chose them in the first round. Four of the six DTs selected in Round 1 that year signed extensions this offseason. Quinnen Williams, Ed Oliver, Dexter Lawrence and Jeffery Simmons have new deals in hand. Jerry Tillery did not work out for the Chargers, but he was the only first-round DT from the ’19 class not to negotiate an extension this offseason. Christian Wilkins spent months discussing a deal with the Dolphins, but the sides have tabled matters to 2024, when the former No. 13 overall pick will be on the cusp of free agency.

Guarantees represented a sticking point for Wilkins, but Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald offers that the Dolphins appeared to be skittish about authorizing a Williams-level deal for a player without much in the way of sack production. Wilkins’ camp undoubtedly pushed for terms in the Williams-Lawrence-Simmons-Daron Payne neighborhood ($22.5-$24MM per year), as the Clemson alum led all DTs with 98 tackles last season. Wilkins, who produced 89 tackles in 2021, has never topped 4.5 sacks in a season. He has also eclipsed seven QB hits in just one of his four NFL slates (13 in 2021). Wilkins has not requested a trade, per Jackson, and the Dolphins — despite trade interest emerging — are not interested in moving him.

The Dolphins will have the option of franchise-tagging Wilkins next year. The Commanders used the tag as a bridge to a Payne deal, but the D-tackle tag number will likely come in north of $20MM in 2024. The Dolphins are currently projected to be $27MM over the cap next year (29th in the league), though much will obviously change between now and then. Here is the latest from the AFC East:

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 9/12/23

Today’s practice squad transactions:

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Los Angeles Chargers

  • Signed: LB Ty Shelby
  • Released: OT Austen Pleasants

Los Angeles Rams

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/12/23

Today’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Cincinnati Bengals

  • Waived from IR: DL Tautala Pesefea Jr.

Cleveland Browns

Houston Texans

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Rams

Minnesota Vikings

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Michael Dogbe has found his next gig after getting waived by the Jaguars during final cuts. The former seventh-round pick spent the first four seasons of his career with the Cardinals, appearing in 40 games. He took on a bigger role over the past two years, compiling 55 tackles in 29 appearances. He joined Jacksonville this offseason before earning his walking papers.

Myles Gaskin is back on an active roster following an unceremonious end to his Miami tenure. The running back had 1,818 yards from scrimmage across the 2020 and 2021 seasons, but he saw a limited role with the Dolphins in 2022. He joined the Vikings practice squad at the end of the preseason and was elevated to the active roster for their season opener.

Vikings QB Kirk Cousins Addresses Future

Plenty of veterans made their way out of Minnesota this offseason, but quarterback Kirk Cousins is still in place for at least one more year. He recently spoke about his future with the Vikings (or another team) as he enters the final year of his contract.

Cousins is set to earn $30MM this season, after it became clear he would not sign another Vikings extension this offseason. Talks on a new contract are expected to take place after the campaign but before his deal expires in March, something which would take him to free agency for the second time in his career. That leaves the 35-year-old with plenty to prove this season, something he is acutely aware of.

Cousins admitted he is playing for his job when speaking to the media. He added, “that’s kind of the life you live. And I think when you take that seriously, that lends itself to having success more days than not” (h/t ESPN’s Kevin Seifert).

Both team and player have expressed an openness to continuing their relationship, one which has seen Cousins earn $155MM to date in Minnesota. The four-time Pro Bowler will earn another signficant payday on a new deal in 2024 if he continues his strong play from last season, in which he threw for the second-most yards of his career (4,547) and helped lead the team to a 13-4 record. Cousins has cashed in on a number of occasions, and he has done particularly well in securing guaranteed money in his career. Doing so again will require a strong season, as Minnesota could move on if he regresses or suffers an injury.

Tom [Brady] made the point that there is no entitlement in the NFL,” Cousins added. “And if there is entitlement in the NFL, that organization is probably doing it wrong. I think it’s healthy when players need to go out every day, and nobody is entitled to anything… If it ever isn’t that way here, I would be the first one to complain and say, ‘I sense some entitlement, and let’s change that.”

As Seifert’s colleague Adam Schefter notes, Cousins’ contact – which includes four void years for salary cap purposes – does not expire until after the deadline to apply franchise tags. Minnesota will have likely made a decision on his future by that point, something which will be worth watching given the lack of long-term successors in the organization. Many expected the Vikings to be aggressive in drafting a passer in April, but they did not add one until the fifth round (Jaren Hall).

For that reason, Seifert notably reports that Minnesota was not in on Trey Lance trade talks. The former 49ers top-three pick was dealt to the Cowboys for a fourth-round selection after a quick negotiating process which included a few other teams. The fact the Vikings steered clear of Lance leaves their QB situation beyond 2023 something to monitor.

2023 Offseason In Review Series

Quarterback acquisitions generated top headlines this offseason, while the slew of developments affecting the running back market moved that position’s value to a precarious point. On that note, our latest Offseason In Review series is in the books. Here are the PFR staff’s looks at how teams assembled their 2023 rosters:

AFC East

AFC North

AFC South

AFC West

NFC East

NFC North

NFC South

NFC West