Why are the Vikings Avoiding Dalton Risner?

Dalton Risner, Minnesota Vikings
Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Vikings

The Minnesota Vikings have had quite the offseason. But one thing that stands out on their current roster is lack of answers on the interior offensive line. That begs the question, why haven’t they re-signed signed Dalton Risner, who is still a free agent?

Risner played well last year, especially for a guy who was signed in week 4 of the regular season, only after Oli Udoh’s was lost to injury in week 3. While his PFF numbers weren’t great, Risner is still a legitimate option at left guard, a position the Vikings do not currently have a legitimate starting option for.

So… I ask again, why is Dalton Risner still a free agent? Well, I’m not the only one who’s wondering. Risner took to Twitter (X) to vent his 2024 free agent frustrations. And you can’t blame him. As he stated, Dalton has only missing 4 games in five years and he’s proven himself as a productive asset on just about any offensive line in the NFL.

“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.”

Dalton Risner – Twitter (X)

With the depth at guard being possibly the biggest weakness on the Minnesota Vikings offense, what are the Vikings waiting for? Are they really going to roll into the 2024 season with Blake Brandel as their starting left guard? Dan Feeney as their depth guy… Well, two possible lines of thinking stick out to me.

Why haven’t the Minnesota Vikings re-signed Dalton Risner?

Dalton Risner, Minnesota Vikings
Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Maybe they are waiting for the two left guards to hash it out this summer at camp, before deciding whether or not to add a pre-season signing, if they feel it’s necessary. Or, are they simply waiting for the much-anticipated Justin Jefferson contract extension to get done?

In case you haven’t heard (you have), the superstar WR is due a record setting contract that is expected to signed before the start of the season, possibly any day. We know the Vikings want Risner to bring his asking price down.

So is it possible, they are playing hardball with Risner, until Jefferson’s contract gets done, before deciding whether or not they can pay Dalton what he is asking for?

Related: NFL Agents Weigh in on What New Justin Jefferson Contract will Cost Vikings

Former Vikings guard, Ezra Cleveland (who the Vikings traded to the Jaguars before the 2023 trade deadline) received a 3-year $24 million ($9 million per year) contract from his new team. Are the Vikings trying to avoid paying that much for a guard? I guess we will eventually find out.

I think many Viking fans would agree, though, it would be a shame to lose a stand-up guy like Risner, mostly because he plugs a hole that currently looks desperate for more talent. So, here is to hoping the front office is working on something with him, and we just have not heard yet!

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