The Problem with the Malik Nabers Theory for Vikings

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, / USA TODAY NETWORK.

The Minnesota Vikings employ Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison at wide receiver, but according to some, the franchise was willing to cancel that duo in favor of Addison and Malik Nabers, a man ultimately drafted by the New York Giants.

The Problem with the Malik Nabers Theory for Vikings

The theory gained steam during the 2024 NFL Draft. Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio said after Round 1 of the event, “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.”

Tigers reciever Malik Nabers 8 after a touchdown 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.

Most brushed the wackiness aside because Minnesota drafted quarterback J.J. McCarthy and outside linebacker Dallas Turner. Nabers-to-Vikings largely quieted — until last week.

According to the Pioneer Press — which may have simply regurgitated the PFT tidbit from April — Minnesota was in the mix for the young wideout. “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,” Charley Walters wrote last weekend.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Vikings leaders Kevin O’Connell and Kwesi Adofo-Mensah get asked quite frequently about Jefferson’s impending extension, and every time, the two insist a deal is around the bend. They’re not shy about it. In fact, Adofo-Mensah, the general manager, said after the draft, “I think Justin would deserve his whole month if we signed a contract, to celebrate it. So you know, we’re excited to work toward it. We’re gonna keep going. You can’t have all these plans where you talk about all these visions and not talk about the king linchpin, so we’re going to keep working toward that end goal.”

Those comments aren’t skittish or ambiguous. Minnesota just finished an era of paying a quarterback megabucks. It’s severely unlikely that it would draft a rookie quarterback and then strip away the primary weapon — who just so happens to be the best wide receiver in football. You don’t open a taco joint and eliminate tortillas.

malik nabers
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

So, here’s the problem with recent Nabers theory. The verbiage states, “There was buzz at draft time …” Buzz. One can get away with virtually anything when buzz is attached as the source. And in all likelihood, the buzz is a Pro Football Talk nugget, so the Pioneer Press is merely re-advancing an idea from one month ago.

Buzz is not ironclad sourcing. It’s a safe word to blanket anything. One can really state there’s buzz for anything.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

One could write There is buzz that LeBron James will join the San Antonio Spurs this summer — but that’s just a cool idea because a) James is a free agent b) James and Victor Wembanyama would be a sweet pairing.

Yet, the buzz creator wouldn’t be relying on intel; it’s just a neat idea.

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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