Vikings Star Pushing for Teammate’s Return Amid Free Agency Stance

Minnesota Vikings guard Dalton Risner slow-played things last offseason, keeping his options open before signing with the team in September.

Dalton Risner: Will his Wish Come True in 2024? | Vikings Performance 2023,  Future with the Team & Comparisons - BVM Sports

Now back in free agency, there is some uncertainty around his future. He posted a pointed message on social media. But if teammate and left tackle Christian Darrisaw has his way, Risner will be lining up next to him in 2024 just as he did this past season.

Darrisaw shared a picture of the two getting into their stances for a play on his Instagram.

The Vikings got Risner, 28, at a bargain in free agency last season. They signed the former No. 41 overall pick (2019) by the Denver Broncos to a one-year, $3 million contract.

His contract ranked 78th in total value, per Spotrac.

“Just In case anyone was wondering… I’ve started 73 games over 5 years in the league… missing only 4 games due to injury… earning the starting spot amongst 3 different coaching staffs… I’ve never asked for a bag, simply just a starting guard contract,” Risner posted on X, formerly Twitter, on March 12.

Dalton Risner Had Down Year for Vikings Ahead of Free Agency

Dalton Risner, Nick Mullens, Minnesota Vikings

Risner is arguably coming off his worst season as a pro. He logged the lowest percentage of his team’s offensive snaps and the fewest number of starts in his career, per Pro Football Reference.

He finished the season with the lowest grade of his career (57.1), per Pro Football Focus, which also ranked him as the 71st guard in the NFL.

The Vikings finished third in pass blocking and 10th in run blocking, though.

The idea of continuity to build upon those rankings with a potentially revamped running game on the legs of Aaron Jones could also appeal to the Vikings. Head Coach Kevin O’Connell’s background suggests he would like to sling the ball in the passing game.

However, with Kirk Cousins off to the Atlanta Falcons and Sam Darnold replacing him, a shift in philosophy is in order, if only temporarily.

Even if the Vikings make a splash trade up in the draft for a quarterback, running the ball is wise.

Christian Darrisaw’s Contract Looms Large

Christian Darrisaw, Minnesota Vikings

Darrisaw’s contract is another aspect the Vikings have to consider, though free agency is still a ways off. The former No. 23 overall pick in 2021, Darrisaw appeared in a career-high 15 games last season. He came away with the second-highest grade of his career.

He is also heading into the final year of his four-year, $13.3 million contract.

The Vikings can still pick up his $16 million fifth-year option after next season. They can also apply the franchise tag up to three times before they have to make a long-term decision.

Relationships between players, their representation, and organizations have deteriorated over far less, though. The Vikings have already undergone a lot of changes. Cousins’ departure relates to Justin Jefferson’s future as he heads into the final year of his contract.

Bringing Risner back could be one of the cheaper paths to maintaining team chemistry.

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