Hot Vikings Rumor Snuffed Out

Vikings Arrange Meeting with Top Receiver Prospect
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ESPN said nope.

Hot Vikings Rumor Snuffed Out

Right after the draft, a theory circulated the internet suggesting the Minnesota Vikings sought wide receiver Malik Nabers in the 2024 NFL Draft, insinuating that Justin Jefferson could’ve been traded accordingly.

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Nabers ultimately joined the New York Giants at pick No. 6, but according to Pro Football Talk‘s Mike Florio, Minnesota was [oddly] in the mix for the LSU alumnus.

Then, last weekend, the Nabers theory reemerged courtesy of the Pioneer Press, as Charley Walters appeared to parrot the PFT reporting from late April. Soon after, though, ESPN’s Kevin Seifert smacked down the Vikings-Nabers scuttlebutt rather emphatically on the X app, formerly known as Twitter.

“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 Vikings have a better one in Justin Jefferson. Still working to extend Jefferson and no interest in trading him,” Seifert tweeted Tuesday, pouring cold water on the bizarre trade rumor.

Tigers receiver M. Nabers 8 runs the ball as the LSU Tigers take on Georgia State in Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, November 18, 2023. © SCOTT CLAUSE/USA TODAY Network / USA TODAY NETWORK.

For context, PFT’s Mike Florio said after Round 1 of the draft, “At No. 5, the Chargers, when they took Joe Alt, they passed on an opportunity to trade out of that spot. The team that wanted to move up to that spot, I’m told … the Minnesota Vikings. And not to take J.J. McCarthy. The Vikings, I’m told, were trying to move up to No. 5 to get Malik Nabers.”

A few days ago, Charley Walters wrote, “Pssst. There was buzz at draft time that the Vikings wanted to move from No. 11 to No. 5, not to pick a quarterback but to get LSU wide receiver Malik Nabers, who was picked No. 6 by the Giants. Had that trade occurred, Jefferson would have been traded and Nabers would have been the No. 1 receiver.”

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Nobody anywhere had Minnesota pursuing a wide receiver early in the draft, probably because Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison are more than enough juice at the top of the ticket to generate an explosive offense.

During the draft’s lead-up, Jefferson trade ideas danced on the internet here and there, usually involving the Cincinnati Bengals due to the LSU connection between Jefferson, Joe Burrow, and Ja’Marr Chase. But then the purple team acquired zero wide receivers in the draft and, more importantly, scooped Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy and Alabama outside linebacker Dallas Turner out of Round 1.

If the Florio + Walters reporting is accurate, it is unclear if Jefferson would’ve been traded to the Giants, Chargers, or elsewhere.

Cousins Critic Does
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As for the ESPN response, well, it is more in line with the words from the Vikings leadership. Head coach Kevin O’Connell noted on May 14th about Jefferson’s impending extension: “I know everything’s gonna get worked out there. Justin knows the love and admiration that I have for him. He knows he’s such a big part of what we do around here. That’s on the field and off the field. Bringing such a great energy to our building every single day.”

And around the time Florio advanced the initial Nabers rumor, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah said about Jefferson’s impending extension, “You know that friend that has a birthday that takes the month? I think Justin would deserve his whole month if we signed a contract to celebrate it. We’re excited to work towards it. We’re going to keep going. You can’t have all these plans when you talk about all these visions and not talk about the king linchpin, so we’re going to keep working toward that end goal.”

So, someone has the Nabers reporting wrong — either Pro Football Talk or ESPN.

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 MIN 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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