VikingsTerritory‘s Purple Rumor Mill is a two-day chronicle each week. All the week’s rumors are lassoed and plopped in two spots — articles on Saturday and Sunday — for review. Today is the July 2nd edition.
Remember — rumors are rumors. What you read on weekends in these pieces is what the world is talking about pertaining to the Vikings, not necessarily items that will come to fruition.
Rumor: The Vikings should sign Alexander Johnson, a free agent linebacker who last played for the Broncos.
By a whisker, Johnson qualified for Pro Football Focus‘ off-ball linebacker rankings, shockingly placing third in the entire NFL. He graded an 80.9.
Johnson-to-Vikings was born from PFF this week in an article about one signing or trade each team should conduct this summer.
What does this mean? Well, Johnson has ties to current Vikings defensive coordinator Ed Donatell. They worked together in Denver. But Johnson was lost to injury after six games in 2021, so perhaps that solves the mystery on his current free agency.
Regardless, the Vikings don’t need starting off-ball linebackers — they have Eric Kendricks and Jordan Hicks for that — but Johnson would check boxes for a reservist role at a reasonable price. Plus, Kendricks or Hicks could get hurt, leaving rookie Brian Asamoah to fill in — or, in this case, Johnson.
The rumor, for now, is PFF-driven.
Rumor: JC Tretter is still in the mix for the Vikings free-agency plans.
This rumor will not die. It will not die until Tretter signs with a non-Vikings team, retires, or actually signs in Minnesota, reuniting the center with Kwesi Adofo-Mensah from the Cleveland days.
A few times, media entities have suggested the Vikings should hop on Tretter for the starting center job in 2022. Then, this week, Bleacher Reported endorsed the idea, too.
Minnesota’s center, Garrett Bradbury, hasn’t pass-protected worth a damn since 2019, a depressing feat for a 1st-Round center. Tretter, with those Adofo-Mensah ties, is one of the best pass-blocking centers on the planet.
A purple union makes sense but has obviously not happened — and we’re over three months into the alleged courtship.
Rumor: Anthony Barr will eventually end up with the Dallas Cowboys.
The Cowboys, Arizona Cardinals, and New York Jets have been the rumor-mill spots for Barr. It doesn’t feel like he’ll return to the Vikings, even though head coach Kevin O’Connell went out of his way to compliment Barr in his introductory presser back in February.
ESPN has mentioned the Cowboys twice for Barr — once by Bill Barnwell, the other time by Matt Bowen — and Bleacher Report re-upped the idea this week.
If Barr is healthy — that seems like a big if — he’ll latch on somewhere. The Cowboys are a sensible guess.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).