Spielman’s Gift, Reinforcements on the Lines, & Kevin O’Connell’s Threat


NFL: New York Jets at Minnesota Vikings
Jeffrey Becker-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 Rick Spielman leaving behind another gift, the lines getting some much-needed help, and Kevin O’Connell sounding a bit like Mike Zimmer.

The Vikings Rumors – 09.27.2023

Rumor #1 — Rick Spielman is Giving Gifts to the 2023 Vikings

In some ways, the answer is a firm “yes.” After all, Justin Jefferson has somehow taken his game to the next level while Christian Darrisaw (when healthy) continues to prove he’s an excellent left tackle.

A bit more overlooked, though, is the presence of Camryn Bynum, who has had a marvellous start to the 2023 season. Very quietly, he has overtaken Harrison Smith as the team’s most effective safety, a trend that can hopefully continue.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears
Jan 8, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings safety Camryn Bynum (24) reacts during the second half against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

The third-year safety has been rewarding Minnesota’s DC with decisiveness and physicality. Routinely rangy, Bynum is emerging as an eraser for Flores, a defender capable of making open-field tackles and vital stops to keep the offense from getting a first down.

The current vantage points suggests that the team’s future at safety rests in the hands of Josh Metellus (also a Spielman pick) and Camryn Bynum. The pair are playing central roles and their shared youth (each one is only 25) make them appear to be a formidable tandem for the next little while.

Rumor #2 — The Vikings May Soon be Getting Reinforcements Along the Lines

That’s certainly the hope in Eagan.

The team’s head coach thinks there’s a chance the offensive line and defensive line could get a bit of a boost on Sunday: “Bradbury, our hope is that he can, he had a very good work week last week and feels stronger and he’s getting right there so we’ll see how he goes through the week. Hopefully we’ll have him this Sunday in Carolina. We’ll monitor Marcus Davenport as well, see what kind of work he can do early on in the week and how that looks for Sunday.”

Alexander Mattison / Kirk Cousins
Jan 3, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison (25) celebrates his touchdown with center Garrett Bradbury (L) and quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) against the Detroit Lions during the third quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Far be it from me to misconstrue Kevin O’Connell’s words, but the quote seems to suggest that the center is closer to returning than the edge rusher. Maybe that’s just lingering concern given Davenport’s extensive injury history, but the portion about the former Saint feels a bit tacked-on rather than being a fully formed thought that foreshadows a return.

Getting Bradbury back into the starting lineup won’t cure all that ails Minnesota but the run game — which suddenly came to life in Week 3 — should see a boost. Fingers crossed for the athletic center to give it a whirl in Week 4.

Rumor #3 — Kevin O’Connell is Going to Take Snaps Away from the Fumblers

That’s the word from the head coach.

Per O’Connell, fumbling is “something that we’re going to fix one way or another. Either guys are going to do it, or we’re going to have to put other guys in the game that have ball security.” Truth be told, that kind of comment would seem more fitting for Mike Zimmer than Minnesota’s new head coach, but clearly there’s some frustration.

Dec 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Anyone who has watched the games knows that turning the ball over has been a major problem for Minnesota. The wild thing is that we’re not talking about fringe players or random moments. Instead, it’s Kirk Cousins, Justin Jefferson, T.J. Hockenson, and Alexander Mattison who are giving the football away. The team may have the personnel to replace the RB but the initial trio on the list are essentially irreplaceable.

Minnesota gets the chance to show off some better ball security when they travel to Carolina to take on Adam Thielen’s Panthers in Week 4. Another loss and there will likely be some major changes taking place in Minnesota, especially since the Kansas City Chiefs await in Week 5.


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.





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