The NFL officially passed a rule on Wednesday relaxing the league's restrictions on which jersey numbers players at each position are allowed to have. The new allowed ranges are listed below.
- Quarterbacks: 1–19
- Defensive backs: 1–49
- Running backs, fullbacks, tight ends, and wide receivers: 1–49 and 80–89
- Offensive linemen: 50–79
- Defensive linemen: 50–79 and 90–99
- Linebackers: 1–59 and 90–99
Incoming rookies or players changing teams can choose a new number freely, but established players who want to do so for 2021 must buy out the existing inventory of unsold jerseys with their current number. They can also put in a notice to change for 2022 without such responsibilities.
It sounds like one prominent Vikings star is seriously considering taking advantage of the change for this year, even with the costs. Per Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press, Dalvin Cook is looking into switching from 33 to 4, the number he wore at Miami Central High School and Florida State University. "Source said Cook 'would love to go back' to 4 but now evaluating 'inventory costs' that'd be involved," Tomasson tweeted.
If Cook does choose to buy out the inventory and switch to 4 for 2021, there would be a bunch of Vikings fans with 33 jerseys who might be disappointed. But that's not exactly something Cook should be concerned with, and fans know the risk when they buy a jersey. In my humble opinion, it would look pretty dang cool if he ended up making the switch.
The No. 4 jersey in Minnesota has been worn by backup Sean Mannion over the past couple seasons, but he's a free agent so it's unoccupied at the moment.
In other number news, two Vikings second-year players announced that they won't be changing theirs. There was some speculation that Justin Jefferson would go from 18 to his college number 2 and Cameron Dantzler from 27 to 3, but neither of those will be happening (for now, at least).
As for one player who is officially switching — although it doesn't have anything to do with the new rules — defensive lineman Hercules Mata'afa is going from 51 to 50, which he wore at Washington State. That number was occupied by Eric Wilson, who signed with the Eagles this offseason.
Thanks for reading. Make sure to bookmark this site and check back daily for the latest Vikings news and analysis all offseason long. Also, follow me on Twitter and feel free to ask me any questions on there.