Twin Cities Newspaper Suggests Vikings Should Trade Best Player

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It didn’t take long — at all — for the Minnesota Vikings offseason to get funky, at least for fringe theories regarding foundational next steps.

The latest-and-not-so-greatest theory involves Justin Jefferson, who is suddenly a hot trade commodity per folks’ hot takes.

Twin Cities Newspaper Suggests Vikings Should Trade Best Player

It’s true; it’s damn true. Just 10 days into the offseason, some believe the Vikings should trade Justin Jefferson for alluring draft capital — and then just figure everything out later. Minnesota has no QB1 under contract for 2024, as Kirk Cousins is scheduled for free agency and owns the draft’s 11th overall pick.

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So, naturally, shipping Jefferson off to a new team is the strategy, according to the Pioneer Press, a Twin Cities newspaper that advanced the idea this week.

“There could be a better chance of Jefferson, 24, getting traded than anybody’s saying. That’s because it doesn’t make sense to pay the NFL’s best receiver the money he wants (expected to be at least $150 million over five years) on a team that’s not expected to be seriously competitive for several more years,” Charley Walters wrote this week, with the Vikings’ next regular season game 7.5 months away.

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It is unclear what trade sum Jefferson would command, although two 1st-Rounders and change might seem fair.

Walters added, “The market for Jefferson would depend on where a team trading for him is picking in April’s draft. But it would be more than two first-round picks. Trading Jefferson for high draft picks would allow the Vikings to rebuild the way the Lions and Bears have done the last two years, from the ground up.”

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Eleven months ago, Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah declared at the 2023 NFL Combine, referring to Jefferson, “I don’t want to be the Vikings’ GM without that guy on our team.”

That message, keeping Jefferson for the long haul, has remained consistent from Adofo-Mensah, head coach Kevin O’Connell, and the Vikings owners, the Wilf Brothers, for the last year. Neither the team nor Jefferson have ever wavered from reaching a long-term extension.

Meanwhile, Walters’ hypothesis isn’t standalone. Bleacher Report joined the trade-Jefferson fun this week, too. BR’s Alex Kay suggested Minnesota will trade Jefferson to the desert for a 2024 1st-Round pick (4th overall), next year’s 1st-Rounder, and an additional 3rd-Rounder in 2024. He explained, “Minnesota could instead look to capitalize on Jefferson’s immense trade value to jump-start the type of rebuilding process that the NFC North rival Detroit Lions recently underwent by trading away star quarterback Matthew Stafford.”

Minnesota traded Randy Moss in 2005, and fans still mourn the transaction to this day.

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“A franchise like the Arizona Cardinals could be highly interested if Jefferson becomes available. Arizona is loaded with draft capital this year, owning 13 selections overall, with six of them coming in the top 90 and two in the first round. Converting some of those picks into a player of Jefferson’s caliber would be a shrewd move for a franchise looking to contend again with a healthy Kyler Murray at the helm,” Kay continued.

Arizona is substantially more likely to stay put at No. 4 and draft Marvin Harrison Jr. (Ohio State) outright than trade the farm for Jefferson and hand him at least $30 million per season.

Kay concluded, “Given Arizona’s leading pass-catcher was tight end Trey McBride (81 receptions, 825 yards and three touchdowns) this past season, it’s obvious the squad needs to bring in an elite receiver to round out the offense. Drafting someone like Marvin Harrison Jr. could be an option at No. 4 overall, but using that pick to land a sure-thing in Jefferson via trade should be even more alluring.”

Popular media outfit SKOR North also recently signed on for the Jefferson Trade Sweepstakes.

Jefferson will turn 25 in June and is on the cusp of his career’s prime, at least per historical NFL standards.

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,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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