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Purple Rumor Mill: Who Won’t Be Back for Vikings in 2023, the Belichick Snub, Kirk in Primetime


Purple Rumor Mill: Who Won't Be Back in 2023, the Belichick Snub, Kirk in Primetime
Oct 9, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end Irv Smith Jr. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Purple Rumor Mill

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 November 26th 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: Several prominent Vikings players won’t return in 2023.

Oct 9, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

This one depends on one’s perception. Yes, several Vikings will depart via free agency — but that happens to every football team each offseason. The Vikings list of possible departures is actually relatively modest.

These men are likely gone:

  • Bisi Johnson (WR)
  • Alexander Mattison (RB)
  • Irv Smith (TE)
  • Chandon Sullivan (CB)

And these players are possibly on their way to other teams;

  • Jonathan Bullard (DL)
  • Garrett Bradbury (C)
  • Greg Joseph (K)
  • Austin Schlottmann (C)
  • Oli Udoh (OL)

This offseason should be considered one with low upheaval. Virtually no superstars will depart unless things get funky.

Rumor: Bill Belichick snubbed Adam Thielen after the Thanksgiving game.

Nov 20, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports.

Thielen and Belichick barked at each other the last time Minnesota and New England played in 2018. It was quite contentious.

Then, after Thursday’s game, the two had an awkward embrace after the Vikings win, and it seems like Belichick indeed didn’t give a damn about Thielen’s handshake.

You be the judge, but it looked pretty cold and aloof from the, well, cold and aloof Belichick.

Rumor: Kirk Cousins isn’t very good in primetime, and it was, therefore, odd to see him play so well on Turkey Day.

Kirk Cousins Reacts to Huge Primetime Win 
Nov 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

This narrative has always been so weird. Teams led by Cousins are 11-18 (.379) in primetime games. That isn’t ideal.

But the media will lead you to believe Cousins is totally abysmal in primetime. It simply isn’t true. Here are the numbers:

Kirk Cousins,
Career Passer Rating:

Noon Games = 99.5
Late Afternoon Games = 96.1
Primetime Games = 94.8

So, here’s the deal — Cousins is better in non-primetime games, but he isn’t some imbecile at night. In 29 career primetime starts, he’s accountable for 53 touchdowns to 27 interceptions.

Cousins became a full-time starter in 2015, and since then, he’s recorded a better primetime passer rating than Tom Brady, Matthew Stafford, Dak Prescott, Justin Herbert, Kyler Murray, Derek Carr, and Matt Ryan in the last eight seasons.

The Cousins-primetime talking point is proliferated to spark false outrage.


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).





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