Former Denver Broncos offensive lineman Dalton Risner was one of the most mind-boggling stories of the 2023 NFL offseason. Risner, a four-year starter in Denver and 2019 second-round pick, inexplicably sat in free agency until well into the 2023 regular season. Risner was expected to command a multi-year contract in free agency worth north of $9 million per season, potentially, but that didn't happen.
Instead, he signed a relatively cheap contract with the Minnesota Vikings, who were in need of some offensive line depth and has just recently gotten a chance to play more extensive snaps. After the Vikings' victory over the 49ers in Week 7 (on Monday Night Football), Risner got a chance to meet with the media after showing some emotion when the game ended.
In this clip, Risner characterizes the last year as "the hardest year of my life" and said that it wasn't necessarily his story to tell, so you know there's been some things going on behind the scenes that we're not privy to fueling his emotion at this point. But members of Broncos Country know that Risner wears his heart on his sleeve. It's both one of his greatest attributes and arguably his greatest faults. Risner's emotion led us to one of the more memorable pre-draft moments in Broncos history when he ran up to John Elway at the Senior Bowl to introduce himself to his childhood hero.
Then, on the other side of the coin, Risner let his emotion get the better of him on Christmas in 2022 when backup QB Brett Rypien was scolding him on the sideline for not helping Russell Wilson up after a sack, and Risner proceeded to shove Rypien and get into an argument with him. There were many, including us here, who theorized that particular event may have had something to do with him not being signed for 7 months.
That clip above captures Risner's emotion after the game, but it's not the entire clip. Risner went on in that media scrum to take some not-so-subtle shots at the Denver Broncos as well. You can watch the entire clip on YouTube, but here are some interesting things Risner had to say...
"For four years I've been a part of a team that we didn't have success. There's just something different about this place. It starts with the top down and O'Connell, and the way this team is ran, and the locker room, and how we block out the noise, and how we go to work at practice. This team knows how to celebrate too, man. There's just so many things that are different about here..."- Dalton Risner (via Vikings YouTube)
And of course, this drama sort of goes both ways, doesn't it? It seems like there may have been a bit of souring between Garett Bolles and Dalton Risner near the end of Risner's time in Denver. The Broncos were not nearly as strong on the left side of the line as everyone expected them to be based on the 2019-20 seasons, and Bolles made some pretty choice comments when he was asked about having Ben Powers by his side, saying: "It's nice to have a dog in my room." Bolles also made a comment about how he liked that Powers was "all about ball".
It's hard to argue with the results as Bolles and Powers have been quite good for the Broncos most of this season.
But it's also clear that there is some bad blood between Dalton Risner and the Denver Broncos, at least from Risner's side of things. He was not shy about making a direct comparison between the Vikings and the Broncos, and the differences in culture between the two organizations, including making a comparison of how the two teams are run from the "top down".
Hopefully, Risner continues to have success with the Vikings and is able to carve out a more permanent starting role in the near future.
Risner has provided your Broncos with some strong bulletin board material and you can bet on them to respond to the criticism with $200 in instant bonus bets at DraftKings Sportsbook! Just sign up with DraftKings (no promo code needed), deposit $10 or more and bet $5 or more on Broncos vs. Chiefs. Then you'll win $200 in bonus bets plus daily no-sweat same-game parlays.