ESPN at It Again with the Justin Jefferson Hoopla

Kudos for Justin Jefferson in National WR Rankings
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Justin Jefferson trade theories are limitless. Sometimes they flare up and then die down. Right now, after free agency, it’s flare-up territory.

ESPN at It Again with the Justin Jefferson Hoopla

ESPN was the culprit this time, suggesting Jefferson could be part of a draft trade involving the New England Patriots, a club holding the third overall pick in April.

Justin Jefferson
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The Vikings conducted a trade with the Houston Texans on Friday, acquiring an extra 1st-Rounder in this year’s draft for two 2nd-Rounders, plus a late-round pick swap. Most believe Minnesota will fire off one more trade, probably to get onto the draftboard’s Top 5 for a quarterback like Drake Maye or J.J. McCarthy.

Envisioning the swap with New England, ESPN’s Bill Barnwell set the table and wrote, “The bigger move would be to try to jump to the No. 3 pick, which would guarantee the Vikings one of Caleb Williams (USC), Drake Maye (North Carolina) or Jayden Daniels (LSU), the top quarterbacks in this class. They would have to convince the Patriots that passing up the opportunity to take one of those quarterbacks would be the right idea, which seems costly.”

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He then dropped Jefferson’s name into the mixture, along with Christian Darrisaw: “The Patriots need solutions at wide receiver and left tackle, and the Vikings have standouts at both positions in Justin Jefferson and Christian Darrisaw, but trading either player as part of a move would set that new quarterback behind before he ever steps on the field. And while Nos. 11 and 23 wouldn’t be enough to land the third pick, Nos. 11, 23 and either Jefferson or Darrisaw would be too expensive of a price to pay. If the Vikings do make a move with the Patriots, it would have to be their two first-rounders and a future first-rounder as the basis for a deal.”

Jefferson trade ideas ran roughshod over the NFL’s rumor mill in the weeks leading up to the 2024 NFL Combine, mainly because the Vikings front office hasn’t extended his contract.

Voice Suggests Justin
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But Minnesota’s brass struck down those rumors — in unison. Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell said in February that trading Jefferson was ridiculous. O’Connell told PFT Live, “Let me dissect it for you. We have had zero discussions, dialogue about that, either internally, externally, on this planet or another planet.”

General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah said about Jefferson’s upcoming deal at the NFL Combine around the same time as O’Connell’s declaration: “We’ve said it, and we’ll continue to say it: we think he’s the best wide receiver in the league, and should be compensated as such. We think he’s one of the best non-quarterbacks in the league, think he should be compensated as such.”

“That is not something that has ever crossed my mind,” Adofo-Mensah replied when a reporter asked about trading Jefferson as a possibility.

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Earlier this month, The Athletic’s Dianna Russini tweeted, “The Vikings came close to extending WR Justin Jefferson last offseason. In Indy, GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah aggressively rejected the idea of trading the star. Kirk Cousins’ departure hasn’t changed things. The Vikings have no plans to trade Jefferson, sources tell me and Alec Lewis.”

So, let it be known: trade theories involving Jefferson simply won’t stop. But they’re a waste of internet data.

The Vikings, though, could make a deal with New England for the No. 3 pick — it’s just not likely to include Jefferson.

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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