Veteran NFL guard Dalton Risner arrived in Minnesota on Monday night and officially signed a one-year contract with the Vikings on Tuesday, the team announced.
The deal is worth up to $4 million, according to league sources. He will get $2.25 million guaranteed.
How quickly coaches can get Risner, 28, ready to play remains to be seen. He was a free agent after starting 62 games for the Broncos at left guard between the 2019 and 2022 seasons. Now he's reuniting with offensive line coach Chris Kuper and assistant Justin Rascati, whom Risner played under in Denver. Risner visited the team's Eagan headquarters in August but left without an agreement.
Risner comes back to TCO Performance Center with a commitment from a Vikings offense that spent a long weekend searching for answers to open lanes in the running game. After the 34-28 loss in Philadelphia on Thursday night, coach Kevin O'Connell acknowledged there would be discussions about adding offensive linemen to his 0-2 team.
Tackle Oli Udoh suffered a season-ending quad injury in the fourth quarter. Left tackle Christian Darrisaw (ankle) and center Garrett Bradbury (back) missed the game because of injuries.
"I do have a lot of confidence in our guys," O'Connell said, "but clearly we've got to do something a little bit differently and really focus on how to run the football better to help our pass game."
Udoh went on injured reserve Tuesday.
The Vikings have been a low-volume and inefficient rushing attack through two games. Running back Alexander Mattison has frequently been hit by defenders behind the line of scrimmage after an offseason focused on an improved ground game. Quarterback Kirk Cousins also has taken 19 hits, including four sacks, in this young season.
When Risner visited the Vikings last month, O'Connell said they discussed the possibility of moving him to the right side. That's where second-year guard Ed Ingram has struggled for Minnesota. Left guard Ezra Cleveland has started 42 consecutive games.
"I know [Risner's] predominant history has been on that left side," O'Connell said in August. "It's one of the reasons you bring a player on a visit, have those conversations and so we feel very comfortable about his answer to that question and we'll put that plan into place as far as his competition to try to earn a significant role on our team."
Risner would be the 13th different guard to start a regular-season game for the Vikings during Cousins' six seasons in Minnesota.
Addison's hot start
Receiver Jordan Addison became the first Vikings rookie since Percy Harvin in 2009 to start his career with a touchdown catch in his first two NFL games.
"Both of his touchdowns now have come on looks where he's able to get behind the defense with his explosiveness," O'Connell said after Thursday night's loss. "But then he's also catching some balls underneath, he's catching and running. … He just continues to show up."
Addison, the first-round pick, has been a deep target for Cousins, ranking second on the team with 133 receiving yards on only seven catches. His 62-yard touchdown in Philadelphia came after Cousins faked a screen to Justin Jefferson while Addison went deep on the other side of the field. Jefferson leads all Vikings receivers with 309 yards.
"I liked that call in that moment," O'Connell said Friday, "because … sometimes three defenders are responsible for Justin."
Defense can 'create more'
Much of the talk outside TCO Performance Center has revolved around the offense's inability to hold onto the football. Minnesota's six lost fumbles are twice as many as any other NFL team through two games.
Safety Harrison Smith noted that the defense can take the ball away, too. The Vikings have only one takeaway — safety Theo Jackson's interception in Philadelphia — for a league-worst minus-6 turnover differential.
"That's another area we have to improve on," Smith said Monday. "As a defense, we need to pick up our end and create more."
* Jefferson became the ninth player in Vikings history with at least 5,000 receiving yards. Only four other franchises — the Packers (14), Broncos (10), Chiefs (10) and Cardinals (10) — have more. The 49ers, Chargers and Bengals also have nine players. The Bears have a league-low one player in franchise leading receiver Johnny Morris, who accrued 5,059 yards from 1958-1967.
* Defensive tackle Dean Lowry was fined $10,927 by the league for a face mask penalty on Buccaneers running back Rachaad White in the Vikings' Sept. 10 loss.
* Buccaneers offensive lineman Robert Hainsey drew a $7,282 fine for an uncalled peel-back block in the second quarter. Hainsey rolled backward and into linebacker Ivan Pace Jr.'s legs.
Star Tribune writer Ben Goessling contributed to this report.