Roster Risers, Another Recovery Milestone, & Free Agent Flirtations

NFL: Minnesota Vikings Training Camp
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Though we’re now into the portion of the year when Vikings rumors aren’t as abundant, we’ll still 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 various roster risers after a preseason game, Brian O’Neill’s injury recovery, and the Vikings’ various meetings with free agents.

The Vikings Rumors – 08.16.2023

Rumor #1 — The Vikings Have Several Roster Risers

Oh, yes, they most certainly do.

Now, overreacting to a single preseason game would be foolish. Plenty more still needs to happen before the final roster gets set. Keep in mind, though, that we’re now less than two weeks away from The Great Descent. The Vikings — like every other NFL team — will need to get their roster down to 53 men by August 29th. It will be a chaotic day that’s sure to offer at least one or two surprises.

NFL: Preseason-Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks
Aug 10, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Nick Mullens (12) hands the ball off to Minnesota Vikings running back Ty Chandler (32) during the first half at Lumen Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Back to the subject: the roster risers.

Ty Chandler comes to mind, and so does Luiji Vilain. Jalen Reagor did some good things and the glass-half-full Vikings analysts are enthused about Jaren Hall. NaJee Thompson was a monster on special teams and Ivan Pace did little to dampen the widespread enthusiasm. And shout out to Blake Brandel for continuing to prove that he’s a tremendous depth piece.

Put simply, the Vikings aren’t lacking for great stories. The upcoming Titans practices and preseason game will give reason for plenty more riser/faller chatter.

Rumor #2 — Brian O’Neill Hit Another Milestone in His Recovery

That appears to be the case, folks.

ESPN’s Kevin Seifert had this to say: “Development: RT Brian O’Neill is getting some reps with the first team during team drills. Believe that is a first since his Achilles injury last season.” Andrew Krammer of The Star Tribune offered a similar sentiment, explaining, “Big step today for Vikings right tackle Brian O’Neill, who participated in padded 11-on-11 work for the first time since Jan. 1 partial right Achilles tear.”

Brian O'Neill
Oct 2, 2022; London, United Kingdom; Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle Brian O’Neill (75) during the NFL International Series game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports

The right tackle isn’t fully in the clear, but all signs have been positive.

With the Titans coming to town this week, O’Neill may have the chance to ramp up the competition by getting in on some reps against Tennessee. Mike Vrabel’s squad boasts some notable pass rushing talent — Denico Autry, Harold Landry, Arden Key — so O’Neill will have the chance to square off with some strong players if his recovery is far enough along.

Rumor #3 — The Vikings Continue Flirting with Notable Free Agents

So far, nothing too firm in terms of actual contracts. What the Vikings have been doing, though, is conducting meetings with veterans who have the potential of solidifying a potential weakness in Minnesota.

Over the past couple weeks, the Vikings have had meetings with these players:

  • Dalton Risner, Guard
  • Ronald Darby, Corner
  • Kareem Hunt, Running Back
NFL: Denver Broncos at Cleveland Browns
Oct 21, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Denver Broncos cornerback Ronald Darby (21) tackles Cleveland Browns wide receiver Anthony Schwartz (10) during the second half at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

September 10th is when the Vikings will be playing their first game. Presumably, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell would welcome the chance to integrate a player into the team long before that date arrives. Over the coming days, keep an eye on what the Vikings decide to do on the free agency front.

The team has roughly $10.6 million in cap space.

Editor’s Note: Information from Over the Cap helped with this piece.

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