Top Free Agent Lineman Sends Vikings Message After Week 1 Loss

Dalton Risner

Getty Dalton Risner on September 12, 2022 in Seattle.

The Minnesota Vikings flirted with the idea of adding veteran guard Dalton Risner during training camp, and Risner made it clear he’s willing to give the Vikings a second chance.

After a disappointing Week 1 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers where Kirk Cousins was pressured up the middle often, Risner responded to several frustrated fans on X (formerly Twitter), confirming his interest in signing with Minnesota is still alive.

“Dalton Risner on the phone tomorrow,” Vikings Central posted.

Risner replied: “I’m ready.”

VikingzFanPage asked, “You still like purple?”

“Been waiting,” Risner said.

Dalton Risner Left Vikings Training Facility Without a Contract in August

Risner visited the Vikings on August 1 as one of the top guards available in free agency throughout the offseason.

It proved to be a cursory visit. Kevin O’Connell revealed that there was one question regarding his fit with the team and whether he could play both guard spots.

“His predominant history is on that left side, that’s one of the reasons why you bring a player on a visit, to have those conversations,” O’Connell said, referring to asking Risner about his comfort in playing the right guard spot. “We feel very comfortable about his answer to that question and would put that plan into place as far as his competition to try and earn a significant role on our team.”

That answer seemed to put right guard Ed Ingram on notice — and for good reason. Ingram led the NFL in pressures allowed (58) a season ago, and left guard Ezra Cleveland wasn’t far behind with 53 pressures, the third-most in the league during the regular season.

Meanwhile, Risner allowed just 29 pressures. The 28-year-old is plenty capable of starting or at least being a depth piece, however, he remains unsigned.

Vikings Offensive Line Faced Adversity on Sunday

A poor showing on Sunday was a result of several factors.

Center Garrett Bradbury suffered a lower-back injury in the first quarter that led to Austin Schlottmann playing the majority of the game.

“I got a lot of reps with these guys last year, and I also talk a lot with Garrett during the week to see how he’s going to make his blocking calls,” Schlottmann told The Star Tribune in a locker room interview. “I’ve been doing this for six years. It’s my job to be ready.”

There was also an unfortunate mishap that quarter where Ingram forced a fumble against his own team. He clubbed the ball from Cousins’ grasp at the snap, resulting in the first of three first-half turnovers.

“I have no idea what happened,” Ingram said, per The Star Tribune. “That was some freak stuff right there, man. It was just me trying to cut off the nose tackle, and I guess my arm accidentally hit the ball.”

Despite the mental miscue in the first quarter, the Vikings offense was humming for much of the first half. The running game was serviceable with Alexander Mattison and kept the Buccaneers defense guessing.

But the Buccaneers defensive front’s physicality wore down the Vikings offensive line late in the game. Minnesota abandoned the run game, attempting just six rushes in the second half as the offense became one-dimensional.

Justin Jefferson secured just two catches for 12 yards in the second half after posting seven catches for 138 yards in the first half.

Running the ball is a mentality, and the Vikings reached a point where they couldn’t withstand Tampa Bay. Minnesota finished the game with 17 rushes for 41 yards (2.4 yards per attempt, the second-lowest in O’Connell’s 19 games with the Vikings.

That cannot happen again if Minnesota hopes to have a top-10 offense this season.

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