Percy Harvin? Stefon Diggs? Justin Jefferson’s Situation Isn’t Like That.

Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports. Stefon Diggs + Justin Jefferson.

In 2013, the Minnesota Vikings traded Percy Harvin to the Seattle Seahawks about a month before the NFL Draft, where he later won a Super Bowl, after then-general manager Rick Spielman said the Vikings “had no intent” to trade the electric playmaker.

Percy Harvin? Stefon Diggs? Justin Jefferson’s Situation Isn’t Like That.

Seven years later, Spielman repeated the deed, offloading Stefon Diggs to the Buffalo Bills after saying “there was no reason to believe” the Minneapolis Miracle merchant would be traded.

Now, in 2024, some are paranoid a different general manager will trade Justin Jefferson, as Minnesota has yet to extend his contract for the long haul. On Tuesday, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah spoke to reporters at the 2024 NFL Combine, and predictably, the young executive was asked about possibly trading Jefferson. He replied, “That is not something that has ever crossed my mind.”

Still, Vikings fans invoked the Harvin and Diggs trades as precedent for anxiety. And, yes, this is the same franchise that traded Randy Moss 19 years ago.

But here’s why the Harvin + Diggs + Jefferson situations are different.

1. Harvin and Diggs Were Good | Jefferson Is Elite

Percy Harvin
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports.

No player has accomplished what Jefferson has through four seasons via receiving yards. And that’s even after the phenom playmaker missed seven games in 2023 with a hamstring injury.

It was one thing to send Harvin, who missed 33% of all games from 2009 to 2012, elsewhere: availability was a concern. Jefferson isn’t like Harvin — at all — in the oft-injured category, and aside from the hamstring hiccup, he has proven to be as durable as wide receivers are made.

Diggs was (and is) a marvelous wide receiver but has never lived in Jefferson’s tier. Neither did Harvin. Jefferson can reasonably be called the best non-quarterback in football; nobody ever said that about Diggs or Harvin. For some reason, Vikings fans have plopped Harvin, Diggs, and Jefferson in the same bucket — just because they played the same position in purple clothes.

Jefferson is damn near the face of the NFL next to Patrick Mahomes. Harvin and Diggs were not even remotely close.

2. No QB to Pay This Time

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

In 2020, Minnesota still employed a prime version of Kirk Cousins, and letting him walk was never seriously on the table. Now, Cousins is on the cusp of turning 36, and Minnesota’s front office has the luxury of pondering an off-ramp.

Even if the Vikings re-sign Cousins, his would-be massive extension won’t necessarily align with the onset of Jefferson’s next deal. In all likelihood, Jefferson’s mammoth money will kick in after 2024, and Cousins may no longer be associated with the Vikings.

Minnesota can pay Jefferson the megabucks while offsetting that cash with a quarterback on a rookie contract. Cousins disallowed that, to an extent, with Diggs four years ago.

3. Diggs Was Disgruntled. Jefferson Is Not.

Hot Rumor Mill
Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports.

Late in the 2019 season and into the 2020 offseason, seemingly every day brought a bizarre tweet from Stefon Diggs. Folks later learned that he asked Spielman for a trade in the middle of the 2019 season, to which Spielman promised an offseason change of scenery around the bend. Spielman delivered, and Diggs is a Bill.

Jefferson said at the Super Bowl’s radio row three weeks ago, “I’m definitely grateful for what Minnesota has done for me. I definitely wouldn’t be in this situation if they didn’t pick me, to be the fifth receiver taken. With everything that has happened and everything I have gave to the organization, of course, I would want to stay.”

Put simply, Jefferson wants to be a Viking. Diggs did not.

4. Different GMs

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports.

Vikings faithful are making Adofo-Mensah pay for Spielman’s sins and verbal inconsistencies — for no reason.

Just because the former general manager went back on his word a couple of times doesn’t mandate or equate to the new guy doing the same. These are different humans. Adofo-Mensah was borderline defiant on Tuesday when asked about trading Jefferson.

It’s fair to recall what occurred with Harvin and Diggs in the past but to assume, “Oh, Jefferson will get traded because the other guys did,” doesn’t involve much logic. It’s an unjust phobia.


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).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.

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