Kevin O’Connell Blasts Longstanding Vikings Rumor

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Some absolutely refused to believe it — perhaps still don’t — but the Minnesota Vikings never entertained trading Justin Jefferson. It was not a thing.

Kevin O’Connell Blasts Longstanding Vikings Rumor

Jefferson nailed down his next contract last week, inking a four-year, $140 million deal and making the phenom playmaker the richest non-quarterback in NFL history while solidifying his spot on Minnesota’s roster through the end of the 2028 season. His new agreement attaches him to the Vikings in exact alignment with rookie quarterback J.J. McCarthy. Both have contracts set to expire after 2028.

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And in the deal’s aftermath, head coach Kevin O’Connell — in his upbeat, positive way — blasted Jefferson-themed trade fodder from the last few months as unrealistic and not applicable.

“When you hear some things, a lot of things kind of come and go, and you chalk it up to what they are,” O’Connell explained last week. “But when there’s things that are just so far outside the realm of what’s actually happening and taking place, you find yourself wanting to come out and say, which I will, unequivocally, we never, ever one time discussed internally amongst the leadership [trading Jefferson].”

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The O’Connell comments are pretty defiant — probably because Jefferson trade rumors popped off like wildfire before and after the 2024 NFL Draft. National NFL-themed websites spitballed trade packages and destinations for Jefferson even though Minnesota’s leadership said — almost weekly — that trading their best player wouldn’t happen.

O’Connell added, “Some people have sources far and wide, but I would say amongst the leadership, amongst the decision makers, the people that are directly involved with the situation, there really was not one time that [a trade] was ever discussed, game planned, contingency planned.”

Because the Vikings have traded Randy Moss, Percy Harvin, and Stefon Diggs in the past, some fans couldn’t resist the paranoia of thinking Jefferson could follow suit. In the end, per O’Connell, trading Jefferson was about as likely as the franchise relocating to Nepal.

Jefferson Makes His
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Some media outfits are still clinging to Jefferson trade hoopla as if it were a real thing. According to Pro Football Talk‘s Mike Florio, 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 last Thursday.

Florio also blasted Vikings beat writers for not promoting false Jefferson trade theories.

“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.”

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah & Kevin O’Connell Talk Free Agent Moves, Future at Quarterback & 2023 NFL Draft in Eagan, Minnesota, on April 13th, 2023. Adofo-Mensah and O’Connell joined the organization in January and February 2022, respectively.

Most Vikings-themed writers — and this website — didn’t uplift Jefferson trade rumors as legitimate because sources never confirmed such happenings, and trading Jefferson the moment a rookie quarterback joined the team didn’t make sense. It still doesn’t.

Thanks to O’Connell, the record was set straight that trade-anything regarding Jefferson didn’t get off the ground because it wasn’t real in the first place.

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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