The Enticing Vikings Trade Rumor that was All for Naught

The offseason can be silly season (as they say). All kinds of theories and speculation circulate as we await firm answers. Nevertheless, there was a particularly appealing Vikings trade rumor that made some sense: making a move for Jerry Jeudy.

The young Denver receiver has had a solid-yet-unspectacular start to his career with the Broncos. The connection between the franchises – Denver’s GM, George Paton, was a long-time Vikings executive – and changing of the coaching guard – public enemy no. 1 Sean Payton took over as HC – made a trade look very possible.

The Enticing Vikings Trade Rumor

During the 2020 NFL Draft, Denver opted for Jerry Jeudy with the 15th pick. Vikings fans will look back and snicker, haughtily pointing to their superhuman WR who was chosen 22nd overall in the same draft. At the time, though, the move from Denver was praised. Jeudy was highly-regarded coming out of college.

Oct 30, 2022; London, United Kingdom, Denver Broncos wide receiver Jerry Jeudy (10) is congratulated by wide receiver Courtland Sutton (14) after scoring a touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the second quarter during an NFL International Series game at Wembley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

After the departure of Adam Thielen, many believed the team could use a youthful receiver infusion. Jeudy, 24, certainly fit the bill.

In Minnesota, he’d be tasked with being Robin to Justin Jefferson’s Batman. He’d also have the benefit of catching passes from the ever-steady Kirk Cousins, someone who hasn’t soared as high as Russell Wilson but also hasn’t dropped as low as Russ did in 2022.

The Vikings trade rumor gained added credence by top-level publications like PFF positing that Minnesota was a good fit. Jeudy is entering the 4th year of his rookie deal on a modest cap charge and has proven to be capable of lining up all over the field. The WR was ticking all the boxes.

Aug 5, 2022; Englewood, CO, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Jerry Jeudy (10) during training camp at the UCHealth Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The issue? Well, it’s simply that Payton publicly said they weren’t moving on from Mr. Jeudy. Another nail in the coffin arrived when Denver opted to pick up the receiver’s 5th-year option.

After the option was picked up, heavy-hitting league insiders like Ian Rapoport confirmed there was trade interest across the league.

The Actual Plan at WR2

Thankfully, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell didn’t put all of their 2023 hope on acquiring Jerry Jeudy. Perhaps they explored the option, but in the end they decided to go in a different direction.

During the opening round of the draft, Jordan Addison became a Minnesota Viking. He is the frontrunner to take on that coveted WR2 job opposite Justin Jefferson. A successful opening season will involve putting together somewhere around 60+ catches and 750+ yards. Not otherworldly production, but rock solid (especially for a rookie).

Emphatic Statement
Apr 27, 2023; Kansas City, MO, USA; USC wide receiver Jordan Addison with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected by the Minnesota Vikings twenty third overall in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft at Union Station. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The 21-year-old Addison hasn’t accomplished a thing in the NFL because, well, he hasn’t had the opportunity to do so. He’ll need to prove he can be an effective receiver in the NFL. Nevertheless, his early comments about getting paid and being an artist with his routes have certainly endeared him to Vikings fans.

When the team is in 11 personnel (1 RB, 1 TE, 3 WRs), the Vikings will have Jefferson, Addison, K.J. Osborn, and T.J. Hockenson as the primary pass catchers. Alexander Mattison and his surprisingly silky mitts will likely be in the backfield. That combination of skill looks to be formidable, at least at this stage in the league’s calendar.

Meanwhile, Denver is looking for a bounce back season. For that to occur, Jerry Jeudy will need to continue ascending in his still-young career. Last season, he set a career high with 67 catches, 972 receiving yards, and 6 TDs. The Broncos are hoping he’ll improve on all of those marks in 2023.

Editor’s Note: Information from Pro Football Reference helped with this piece.