One Aspect of Justin Jefferson Trade Rumors Was Real

Justin Jefferson insulted
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The Minnesota Vikings never planned to trade Justin Jefferson, but that doesn’t mean other NFL franchises didn’t inquire about the 24-year-old.

One Aspect of Justin Jefferson Trade Rumors Was Real

Jefferson inked a four-year, $140 million megadeal one week ago, making the phenom playmaker the highest-paid non-quarterback in NFL history. He’s now connected to the Vikings for the next five seasons, paired with rookie passer J.J. McCarthy’s contractual end date through the 2028 season.

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And according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, multiple clubs, including the New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers, and Indianapolis Colts, called about Jefferson’s trade availability heading into the 2024 NFL Draft. It’s just that Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah had no desire to do business involving the 2022 Offensive Player of the Year.

Schefter name-dropped the Jets, 49ers, and Colts as suitors and said last week on his podcast, “Every team that called the Vikings before the draft was told ‘we’re not trading him.’ The conversations went nowhere with anybody.”

Free Agency
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The reporting checks out, unlike other sourcing, which claimed Minnesota inquired about trading during the draft for LSU’s Malik Nabers. Two weeks ago, the Pioneer Press claimed Nabers was in the mix for Minnesota, a theory previously advanced by Pro Football Talk. “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.

The difference between Schefter’s musings and fodder from PFT or Walters is the Vikings’ role. It’s one thing for outside NFL general managers to do diligence on Jefferson’s availability versus a pseudo-smoking gun that claimed Minnesota almost pulled the trigger on an unknown in Nabers while offloading the best non-quarterback in the sport.

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Interestingly, had Minnesota conducted business with San Francisco, the team probably could’ve acquired Deebo Samuel or Brandon Aiyuk while also snagging a future 1st-Rounder away from San Francisco. No Vikings fan would’ve enjoyed Jefferson’s departure, but such a deal with the 49ers would’ve at least made sense per team building.

Why would Minnesota even remotely entertain a Jefferson swap? Well, leading up to the draft, many believed the Vikings would draft a rookie quarterback — they ultimately did precisely that — and additional capital felt required at the time for a trade, especially for a deal that would’ve targeted Drake Maye, who landed with the New England Patriots. In the end, Minnesota did not trade the farm for Maye and only traded one spot up the board for McCarthy.

49ers WR Not Impressed by Vikings Joint Practices
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Indeed, some Jefferson trade smoke was real — it just didn’t move the needle for the purple team. The discussions were one-sided.

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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