Familiar Voice Won’t Let Vikings Trade Rumors Go

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It’s over. The Minnesota Vikings inked Justin Jefferson for the long haul, and the team’s fans — almost universally — praised the move, considering it fruition and a no-brainer.

Familiar Voice Won’t Let Vikings Trade Rumors Go

Yet, the leader of the “Vikings could trade Jefferson” movement revealed a final shot this week, claiming the club still explored trading Jefferson despite what the team or its reporters have insisted throughout the extension process. That’s Pro Football Talk, a popular website that has advanced Jefferson trade theories for months and uplifted Malik Nabers rumors for Minnesota along the way.

Justin Jefferson
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Minnesota extended Jefferson for four years and $140 million on Monday after promising it would secure the deal since the start of the offseason. Following the draft, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah said Jefferson deserved a full month to bask in his new deal, comparing it to a friend celebrating her birthday as a month-long ceremony. Then, Jefferson’s birthday month arrived, and the club prolonged his day on June 3rd. The Adofo-Mensah prophecy was fulfilled.

According to PFT’s Mike Florio, however, the trade rumors were more than smoke. “While the Vikings have zero interest in giving those past possibilities any credence, it’s fair to think they were waiting to see if someone might have spontaneously made an offer they wouldn’t have refused,” Florio wrote Thursday.

Cousins Critic Does
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Because the Vikings lost Randy Moss, Percy Harvin, and Stefon Diggs to trades in the last 20 years, many fans were paranoid about the delay in finalizing Jefferson’s deal. And in the past, previous leadership regimes misled the masses about those players, trading Harvin and Diggs, for example, after insinuating the men would be around for years. Therefore, when any Jefferson trade rumors hit the digital stratosphere, some took it seriously.

Florio continued, “Then there’s the fact that more than a few people have said the Vikings were trying to trade up from No. 11 to No. 5 to draft LSU receiver Malik Nabors. Too many people heard that for it to have been something that someone pulled out of thin air and/or their ass. Even though Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell got the predictable softball earlier this week regarding the question of whether the Vikings shopped Jefferson, no one aske[d] about the Nabors rumors and reports.”

East Rutherford, NJ — May 10, 2024 — The number one draft pick for the Giants is wide receiver Malik Nabers as the NY Giants hold their Rookie Camp and introduce their new draft picks. © Chris Pedota, NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK.

The Florio piece repeatedly misspelled “Nabers” as Nabors and wrote “aske” for asked. After the gaffes, though, PFT seemed to blame other Vikings reporters for not joining the Jefferson trade rumor mill, a bizarre accusation, indeed.

“Some would say beat writers know a given team better than anyone else. While that might be true in many circumstances, there’s a real difference between what beat writers can and will write and what they know but can’t say,” Florio argued. “Surely, some of the people covering the Vikings heard about the frustrations from Jefferson’s perspective and/or about the potential effort to get Nabers. Even more surely, it wouldn’t have been great for the business of covering the team on a constant basis to be banging the drum about things the team would rather no one mention.”

ESPN’s Kevin Seifert tweeted about the Nabers + Jefferson trade scuttlebutt about a week ago: “This rumor has made the rounds, and it’s admittedly juicy, but the Vikings did not try last month to trade up and draft WR Malik Nabers. Great player, but the Vikings have a better one in Justin Jefferson. Still working to extend Jefferson and no interest in trading him.”

Trade Rumors
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In that instance, ESPN did cover the Nabers angle — it’s just that PFT reporting was wrong.

VIkingsTerritory never advanced Jefferson trade rumors as credible because its sources wouldn’t substantiate any of PFT’s claims. “No chance,” is the reply we received — repeatedly — when asking about legitimacy of Jefferson trade rumors.

There’s also the matter of Minnesota trading ample draft assets for a wide receiver — not a quarterback after Kirk Cousins left — making zero sense.

Jefferson and new quarterback J.J. McCarthy are now connected to the team’s ledger through the end of the 2028 season.

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).

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