Purple Rumor Mill: Outcry over Za’Darius Trade, Jefferson Extension Talk, a Top 10 OL?

Smith Left
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

VikingsTerritory’s Purple Rumor Mill is a two-day chronicle each week. All the week’s rumors are lassoed and plopped in two spots — articles on Saturday and Sunday — for review. Today is the May 13th edition.

Purple Rumor Mill: Outcry over Za’Darius Trade, Jefferson Extension Talk, a Top 10 OL?

Remember — rumors are rumors. What you read on weekends in these pieces is what the world is talking about pertaining to the Vikings, not necessarily items that will come to fruition.

Here’s the first batch of the week.

Rumor: The Vikings should’ve received more in trading Za’Darius Smith to the Cleveland Browns.

Outcry over
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Za’Darius Smith tweeted a full goodbye to the Vikings, their fans, and the state of Minnesota over nine weeks ago. At that moment, he stated his case — not wanting to play for Minnesota anymore and lowering his trade value. It wasn’t ideal.

Then, everything paused. The trade market was evidently bland, as EDGE-needy teams could either sign free agents or find a rookie in an EDGE-deep draft. Moreover, Smith will be 31 years old when the 2023 regular season begins. That isn’t alluring as a trade commodity.

The Vikings stance with Smith boiled down to releasing him after June 1st for optimal cap savings or trading him somewhere for some draft picks. So, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah received two 5th-Rounders while the Browns gained Smith, a 6th-Round pick, and a 7th-Round pick.

Of course, it would’ve been peachy if he never wanted to leave in the first place or if the Vikings could’ve netted more in a trade. But they already signed Marcus Davenport in free agency as Smith’s replacement, and Smith wanted to leave.

It was a choice between accepting the Browns trade, getting nothing at all via Smith’s release, or “playing hardball” with the ex-Packer. Adofo-Mensah chose the draft capital and cap savings. This shouldn’t be a huge controversy — an old, oft-injured pass rusher who wanted to leave the team was flipped for a wee bit of draft capital and cap savings.

Rumor: The Justin Jefferson extension talk is still nothing to worry about despite no deal done as of mid-May.

Unwaveringly Committed
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell talked to Pro Football Talk this week and explained the here and now of Jefferson’s extension talks, “I don’t know if I’d put a timeline on it. I just know that, you know, we very much are looking forward to having Justin play here for a really long time. He has significantly impacted our organization in so many positive ways on and off the field. I look forward to when we get that done, and we can move forward knowing that Justin’s going to be here for the long term, and we will get that done.”

This deal will get done; it’s just a matter of when. There are zero ifs, buts, or hang-ups on the eventual Jefferson deal as of May.

Rumor: Minnesota has a Top 10 offensive line heading into 2023.

to Spell Absolute Doom
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

ESPN’s Mike Clay felt frisky this week, ranking the Vikings offensive line as seventh-best in the league.

This is mainly because the Vikings have “the hard part” squared away — two offensive tackles in Brian O’Neill and Christian Darrisaw. Most NFL teams don’t have the luxury of two Pro-Bowl-caliber OTs.

Too, Minnesota will have offensive line continuity for the first time in ages. It’s wonderful. Plopping the group into the Top 10 may be a little generous, but it’s better than getting the seventh-worst treatment. And don’t look now, but that was generally the case during the Mike Zimmer era.

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).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.