One of the top free agents on the market, former Denver Broncos guard Dalton Risner, was signed by the Minnesota Vikings Monday evening to serve as added protection for quarterback Kirk Cousins.

This is big news for the Vikings, who lost key protector Oli Udoh to injury during Thursday's Week 2 loss against the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Vikings, who are now 0-2 after a pair of disappointing games to start the 2023 season, have seen their quarterback sacked four times already. This seems to follow the same pattern as last season, where Cousins held the title of most-hit play-caller in the entire league. Signing Risner seemed almost inevitable, as Vikings fans had turned up the pressure on the front office to get Cousins a better-functioning offensive line following Sunday's defeat.

One fan said on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter: “By Sunday I need to see Dalton Risner… in purple and gold playing for the Vikings.” Others agreed with the sentiment, believing that many of the team's woes were rooted in inadequate quarterback protection. It seems that the front office had no choice but to comply.

Risner, the 41st overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, was one of the top guards in his class. He earned recognition as a Big 12 Co-Offensive Lineman of the Year during his time at Kansas State, which raised his stock significantly.

Standing at an imposing 6-foot-5 and weighing 312 pounds, Risner quickly developed into a starter after joining the Broncos. Throughout his four-year stint in Denver, he consistently earned pass-blocking grades ranging from 69 to 74.

Reports that surfaced in June suggested that Risner had explored opportunities with the Vikings, leading to heavy speculation that he would have joined the team prior to the start of the season. Alas, it appears that it required two losses and four sacks for the front office to finally pull the trigger on signing the fourth-year lineman.

Perhaps this is the missing piece required for the Vikings to perform to their full offensive potential, give Cousins enough time in the pocket to sling the ball to Jefferson, and tack on a few wins to accompany his plethora of records.