Minnesota Vikings News Roundup: Rick Dennison, WR3 Rumors, and The Purple Chatter

At TVG headquarters, we decided to temporarily postpone the weekly news roundups in favor of a 4-part (1, 2, 3, and 4) schedule prediction during the slowest part of the offseason. With things about to heat up in the NFL world, I’m dusting off the roundups. In this iteration of the Minnesota Vikings news roundup, I’m starting off with Rick Dennison before going on to discuss the rumors about a WR3 addition. We close things off with TVG and broader purple chatter.

The Minnesota Vikings and Rick Dennison

We’re living in a strange time, folks.

An all-too-real pandemic has been wreaking havoc on our world for far longer than I ever anticipated. I can remember hoping we’d defeat Covid within a few months; how wrong I was. Sports leagues, like many other industries, have felt the impact of Covid-19. Last season’s dramatically reduced attendance impacted the NFL’s finances, which is evident in this year’s reduced salary cap.

Now, we all know that the NFL exists to make money. Don’t lose sight of this reality. When the NFL mandates that coaches need to be vaccinated, it’s because they’re doing their utmost to ensure games aren’t lost due to a Covid outbreak.

Initially, the belief was that Dennison had been fired for refusing to take the vaccine. Courtney Cronin – who first broke the story – offered this revision a little later:

It appears as though there is some room for Rick Dennison to return to his role as the Minnesota Vikings o-line coach. In the immediate aftermath of the news, Twitter was ablaze with opinions from both sides. These opinions became more prominent after Alexander Mattison – Minnesota’s backup RB – tweeted his support for Dennison. Not long after that tweet, Mattison commented on some of the things he’s been hearing:

Folks, please hear me when I say this: it’s OK to disagree with Mattison’s stance (and Dennison’s), but please stop with the social media vitriol. It’s not productive and it’s short-sighted.

From a pure performance standpoint, it’s hard to say how much (potentially) losing Dennison will impact us. Some respected voices believe it’s a sizable loss whereas others are more inclined to point to the line’s underwhelming performance. Keep in mind, though, that part of Dennison’s appeal rests in his capacity to help make Lil’Kub’s transition to OC easier. Lil’Kub, after all, is facing a lot of questions, such as how he’ll find balance, how he’ll use Dalvin Cook, and, of course, how he’ll handle the o-line.

Phil Rauscher is (was?) the assistant OL coach; if Dennison does leave, then Rauscher will be the man in charge.

The WR3 Rumors

Vikings fans far and wide have been clamoring for WR3 help for months now. I’m not among this crowd, but I do get it. Bisi Johnson and Chad Beebe don’t exactly inspire confidence for most fans. Personally, I’d rather see the Vikings feature some of the underused talent that is already on the roster, like Ameer Abdullah:

Alas, I’m not in charge of purple personnel (thank God).

Something that may have been lost in the Rick Dennison news was that the Minnesota Vikings were apparently working out Dede Westbrook. Westbrook has long been in the purple rumors. He has a connection to new WR coach Keenan McCardell given their time together in Jacksonville.

Last year, Westbrook only played in two games. He had a 1 catch for 4 yards.

Previously, Westbrook has been quite productive. In 2019, Westbrook turned 101 targets in 66 catches for 660 yards and 3 TDs. 2018 again featured 101 targets for 66 catches, but he turned those totals into 717 yards and 5 TDs. In other words, Westbrook has a history of being a relatively strong NFL receiver.

Another notable component of his stats: Westbrook had 14 carries for 125 yards from 2018-19. Perhaps some WR runs will be in Minnesota’s future. In 2018, Westbrook averaged 14 yards per punt return. Last year, K.J. Osborn averaged 3.9 yards per return.

I’m not against Westbrook as long as the price is right. What we need from our WR3 isn’t huge numbers but, rather, timely numbers. A player who can convert on a critical 3rd down late in the 4th quarter is of far more value than someone who can put up empty yards. Frankly, I really don’t know if Westbrook can be this player. The only thing I can say with certainty is that he should find plenty of room to operate in Minnesota’s offense given all the skill around him. Hopefully he finds a way of turning green grass into clutch plays.

TVG and Broader Purple Chatter

Generally speaking, I highlight a variety of different Vikings sites and podcasts in this portion. Before getting to the roundup of TVG content, I want to section off this paragraph for one piece. Joe Johnson recently passed away and his mother has published a letter to her son on Purple PTSD. I’d encourage folks to read it.

At TVG, we featured a variety of different pieces over this past week. In true Joe Johnson fashion, I launched a program to try to leverage a little more money-making power out of this site. I’m calling it TVG‘s Direct Sponsorship Program. For the set price (contact me for details on that), a business will get a month’s promotion on TVG, which means this business will get a dedicated post about their service/product, some backlinks, social media promos, and ad reads on our podcast.

Otherwise, it was the usual football focus. Cole offered yet another stellar Hall of Fame article. We reflected on PFF‘s starting lineup prediction, the possibility of Aaron “Voldemort” Rodgers moving on (he won’t), and the potential along Minnesota’s defensive line. Draft enthusiasts may want to check out our B/W Case article on the trio of third rounders and we offered up 3 against the grain predictions for the Vikings training camp. Heck, we even offered a little insight on how readers can become smarter football fans.

The Send Off

Well, folks, I end things with my sincere thanks. TVG has been around for a little more than a year now and it’s been a ton of fun on my end. My hope is people on the other side of the computer screen have gained at least a little enjoyment from all that’s posted here.

We’ve got some great things planned for training camp and the season. Be sure to keep swinging by for all of your Vikings needs. You should even feel free to follow us on Twitter and Facebook if you’re into social media.

Enjoy your weekend, reader. You are appreciated!