Vikings Free Agent Starter Takes Angry Shot at Team Over Disrespect

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, Vikings

Getty General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah of the Minnesota Vikings.

The Minnesota Vikings caught some shade from offensive guard Dalton Risner after the team chose not to offer him a new contract.

Risner took to social media on Tuesday, March 12 to air his grievances about being undervalued by the Vikings — and really the league at large — to this point in his five-year NFL career.

“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,” Risner wrote. “I’ve never asked for a bag, simply just a starting guard contract.”

Risner spent his first four seasons with the Denver Broncos but didn’t get the deal he wanted in free agency last year, which ultimately led to a one-year contract with the Vikings worth $3 million in 2023. He played in 15 games for Minnesota last season, starting 11 of those contests.

Dalton Risner Ranked as 4th-Best Offensive Guard in 2024 Free Agent Class

Dalton Risner, Nick Mullens, Minnesota Vikings

GettyFormer Minnesota Vikings offensive guard Dalton Risner (left) celebrates with quarterback Nick Mullens (right) during an NFL game against the Cincinnati Bengals in December 2023.

Risner isn’t wrong about proving himself a quality player of his first half-decade in the NFL. The analytics-based website Pro Football Focus (PFF) has backed up Risner’s claims with both statistical evidence and healthy projections for his next deal.

On March 11, Brad Spielberger of PFF ranked Risner the fourth-best offensive guard available in this year’s free agent class and named him the 65th-best free agent prospect overall.

Risner’s 2023 free agency didn’t pan out as he’d hoped, so he bided his time before joining the Minnesota Vikings a few weeks into the 2023 season on a one-year flier. Risner quickly supplanted Ezra Cleveland at left guard and has been a plus pass protector for the fifth season in a row.

Risner does well to initiate contact with a solid punch, ensuring he doesn’t expose his chest or get his hands swatted away. Even on bull rushes where Risner is driven back and gives up pressure, he keeps his feet square and stays in front of the rusher to prevent a hit on the quarterback, frequently providing [his] signal-caller with just enough time to still get a pass off.

PFF projected earlier this offseason that Risner is worth a three-year contract totaling $24 million ($8 million annually), including $15 million guaranteed.

Vikings’ Free Agency Has Been As Much About What Team Has Lost as What It Has Gained

Washington Commanders, Pittsburgh Steelers, Kirk Cousins

GettyFormer Minnesota Vikings QB Kirk Cousins.

While Risner remains in the gray area of prospective employment, several players of consequence have already landed or left Minnesota during the first day and a half of free agency.

The biggest news is that quarterback Kirk Cousins departed to join the Atlanta Falcons, and that the Vikings replaced him with former No. 3 overall pick Sam Darnold on a one-year deal.

Star edge rusher Danielle Hunter has also left the building, agreeing to a two-year contract with the Houston Texans. Meanwhile, the Vikings defense has added pass rushers Jonathan Greenard and Andrew Van Ginkel, as well as linebacker and Minnesota native Blake Cashman.

The Green Bay Packers cut running back Aaron Jones on Monday, and the Vikings promptly swooped in and added him as the replacement for the recently released Alexander Mattison.

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