Vikings’ Nemesis Shows Why He’s the Vikings’ Nemesis

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First, the man claimed to “pretend” to drive up the Minnesota Vikings trade price during the draft. Now, according to credible reporting, he really wasn’t pretending after all.

Vikings’ Nemesis Shows Why He’s the Vikings’ Nemesis

The man is Sean Payton, the head coach of the Denver Broncos and Vikings nemesis dating back to 2009’s Bounty Program with the New Orleans Saints.

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Payton excitedly told media members on the first night of the draft. “I was actively involved in trying to pretend we were moving forward. It’s this time of the year, and it’s difficult โ€ฆ Man, you just don’t want others to know our focal point.” 

The man point-blank admitted to his preferred manipulation. He was actually proud of it. Vikings fans believe Payton wanted to force Minnesota into using more trade capital in the quest for J.J. McCarthy, a quarterback ultimately chosen by general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah with the 10th overall pick after a trade with the New York Jets.

Minnesota 2024 NFL Draft. Watch as QB J.J. McCarthy addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center on Friday. The Vikings traded up one spot on the draftboard with the New York Jets for McCarthy.

However, according to ESPN, Denver did attempt to trade up, presumably making Payton’s “pretend” jargon pretty hollow. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler explained this week, “Sean Payton told reporters on Day 2 of the draft that he bluffed trade talks with Denver’s No. 12 overall pick. Turns out Payton was indeed calling around. The Bears heard from Denver and one other team while on the clock at No. 9. It wasn’t clear at the time which player Denver was targeting in any potential trade up, or if it even had a target.”

Denver drafted Bo Nix with the 12th overall pick, a prospect that Vikings fans almost universally wanted nothing to do with on draft night.

Vikings Draft
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Fowler added, “But the Broncos have made clear they were all-in on Bo Nix โ€” ‘our guy the whole way,’ as one source put it. Here’s to assuming Denver wanted the Vikings to take McCarthy off the board, clearing the way for Nix, since the teams picking in the 9-10-11 range were unlikely to be in the market for him.”

Therefore, someone isn’t telling the truth โ€” either Nix was Denver’s target from the jump, or Payton is trying to dictate the narrative in a couple of different ways. A team couldn’t singularly target Nix while McCarthy was still on the board, call the Bears about a trade, claim to pretend a bluff, and then pick Nix all at the same time. Someone’s story is fishy, and it doesn’t take a detective to determine the culprit.

It seems like Denver wanted McCarthy if the price was right and fell back to Nix thereafter while claiming Nix was the foremost target. Revisionist storytelling.

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The Vikings aren’t scheduled to play the Broncos again until 2027. Denver defeated Minnesota last season 21-20 at Empower Field at Mile High.

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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