Harsh reality led to Dalton Risner re-signing with the Vikings

Minnesota Vikings guard Dalton Risner
Minnesota Vikings guard Dalton Risner / Jeff Dean/GettyImages

The Minnesota Vikings were expected to lose Dalton Risner in free agency, but the guard surprised many when he agreed to a one-year deal to return last month.

While Risner had a strong year with the Vikings, it was the second straight year he couldn’t land a big contract in free agency, and it led him to a realization that not only that Minnesota’s offer was the best from a financial standpoint but could also put him in the best position to succeed next season.

“I love the Vikings,” Risner said during a media session with reporters on Tuesday. “I think it’s a respect deal. There’s no reason to wait at a team that had an offer on the table, and to be honest with you, I wasn’t getting much action anywhere else, so I wanted to play in the NFL.”

Risner was in a similar situation a year ago, entering the market after spending the first four years of his career with the Denver Broncos. Although he expected to land a starting guard contract in free agency, Risner remained unsigned until he agreed to a one-year deal with the Vikings.

Dalton Risner ready to do whatever he can to help Minnesota Vikings

Risner went on to enter the starting lineup in a Week 7 game against the San Francisco 49ers and stayed at left guard for the remainder of the season. But even after rehabbing his value, Risner said he didn’t receive many offers on the free agent market for the second straight year and agreed to a one-year contract that could be worth up to $2.4 million through incentives and roster bonuses.

“I wanted to get here earlier than September,” Risner said. “That way, I knew where to go eat, knew where to get my pads. I wasn’t drinking water through a fire hose. I’m already late to the game, and I just think it’s one of those things that I want the league to know that I want to play football.

I don’t want it to be two years in a row where I’m waiting [until] the last second, so hopefully, that’s more of a statement from my end, hopefully, letting the Vikings know how serious I am about helping their football team this year.”

While Risner has worked with the second team behind projected starting guards Blake Brandel and Ed Ingram, he also saw the value of getting into camp earlier than the previous season and is ready to do whatever the Vikings need in 2024.

“They know the type of cat they have in me,” Risner said. “Nothing’s changed there, so I don’t need to ask those questions because what do they need me to do? I’m ready to roll. Right tackle, left guard, center, tight end, wide receiver, you name it. You know what I mean? I’m ready to rock.”

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