The Vikings Hedged a Trade Bet during Draft

a Wild Free
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports.

Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah dug into his 2023 draft war chest during his first year on the job, trading picks for players like T.J. Hockenson, Akayleb Evans, and Ross Blacklock.

The moves ushered in varying degrees of success, earning stellar reviews for the Hockenson trade, decent marks for Evans, and grimaces on Blacklock, at least for now.

The Vikings Hedged a Trade Bet during Draft

And another trade not quite celebrated as of yet involved wide receiver Jalen Reagor. Adofo-Mensah flung a 2024 conditional 5th-Round pick and 2023 7th-Rounder to the Philadelphia Eagles for Reagor late last summer. At the time, the move looked wonderful, landing a high-upside talent in Reagor for a low cost.

Vikings 2022 Trade
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But then the 2022 season played out, and Reagor had little impact. Reagor tabulated 8 catches for 104 yards and a touchdown. Of all 31 NFLers who returned 15+ punts in 2022, Reagor’s 6.2 yards per return ranked 31st in the league

That’s a problem, right? Not really.

Adofo-Mensah hedged the bet on the Reagor trade last weekend, and most didn’t even realize it. The Vikings traded back 15 spots in Round 4 (from Pick 119 to 134) and scooped a 2024 5th-Rounder from the Kansas City Chiefs. Minnesota later selected Jay Ward (S, LSU), while Kansas City grabbed Chamarri Conner (CB, Virginia Tech).

Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Ergo, when you start studying the Vikings draft outlook next January or February, Adofo-Mensah will be missing a 5th-Rounder he traded to Philadelphia and have a shiny 5th-Round pick courtesy of Chiefs GM Brett Veach.

In the end, whether Reagor takes off in 2023 or is cut during 53-man roster trimdowns, the wideout and punt returner will have cost a 7th-Rounder — next to nothing by NFL standards. The 5th-Rounder from Kansas City restocks the pantry as if the Reagor trade never occurred, a savvy move from the young executive, Adofo-Mensah.

The Vikings Hedged
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Of course, it would just be the bee’s knees if Reagor takes flight in 2023, rejoining a Vikings offense with extreme continuity for the first time in ages. There is indeed a world where Reagor isn’t a “lost cause.” He could improve as a punt returner, be used as a Swiss army knife on offense, or post more than 104 receiving yards (his 2022 total). The man is 24 years old; the meaningful part of his NFL biography has not been authored.

However, if you’re cynical and assume Reagor will be cut in August or perform in the middle of the road, the Vikings lost next to nothing via the Eagles trade.

Adofo-Mensah could even flip the 2024 5th-Rounder from the Chiefs into something memorable.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

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