The Minnesota Vikings Finally Sign Dalton Risner
The past 2 weeks of football have been frustrating for Vikings fans, as the annual offensive line struggles persist. After 2 weeks, 2 losses, and 30 snaps under pressure for QB Kirk Cousins, GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has seemingly answered Vikings fan’s prayers with the signing of OG Dalton Risner. The one-year, $4 million dollar extension with $2.25 million guaranteed, per Ian Rapoport
, sees the Vikings attempting to patch up the glaring issue at guard, and now that the deal is done, we can review the immediate effects of the signing.
Risner will more than likely slot in at the right guard position, formerly belonging to former second round pick Ed Ingram from LSU. In just his second season, Ingram has been the source of just about every migraine in the state of Minnesota. However, Risner is set to be a marginal improvement. In the infamously turbulent 2022 season for the Denver Broncos, Risner was one of the few bright spots on what was otherwise the laughing stock of the Rockies.
Starting in 15 games and playing a total of 967 snaps, Risner only allowed 3 sacks and committed only 2 penalties for the Broncos, according to Pro Football Reference
. Compared to Ed Ingram, who in 2 games has already conceded a sack, inadvertently forced a fumble on his own QB, and has been an overall liability on the already injury-plagued Vikings offensive line. Even after a full season starting in the NFL, Ingram’s flaws and lack of coordination have cost the Vikings plenty of chances, making the Risner signing a breath of fresh air.
As exciting as this signing may be for Vikings fans, it’s important to keep a level head and maintain a realistic set of expectations. It’s important to note that Risner hadn’t been signed up until this point, however, that aspect doesn’t entirely discredit Risner as much as it provides a demonstration of the current free agent market. Risner may have been the best guard available, but he isn’t necessarily a pro bowler.
Despite being the top guard in the free agent pool, Risner still allowed 3 sacks last year, and missed 2 games to injury. However, it’s worth a mention just how much of a mess Denver’s coaching was last season. Risner being slightly larger than Ingram may help the otherwise stagnant run game, but again, Risner isn’t perfect.
Will Risner Really Improve the Vikings?
At the moment, any improvement is a good improvement, and that’s exactly what Risner is. After 2 frustrating weeks, Adofo-Mensah may have finally pulled the plug on the Ingram experiment to put the suffering to an end, but it’s very clearly not a permanent solution. The length of the deal speaks for itself, so the bottom line is whether or not Risner is that much of an improvement over Ingram. His stats and status speak for themselves, but being better than Ingram is a low bar to clear.
Vikings fans should expect average to above-average play from Risner, anything better would be excellent. Anything worse would just be another reason to tune out the season. It’s hard to view this season with any lens other than that of the re-tooling variety, and whether Risner becomes a long-term piece of this transition is entirely up to him and the Vikings. As fans, we’ve gotten what we asked for, as has Risner considering his Twitter/X posts
(I will never get used to citing it as “X”). Is this a “careful what you wish for” scenario? Probably not. There’s not much worse you could do than Ed Ingram, unless you want to bring back Dru Samia.