The 3 Wildest Offseason Theories for Vikings So Far

The 'Other' Important Race for Justin Jefferson
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings have six weeks of the offseason in the books after failing to reach the playoffs in 2023.

The club has oodles of decisions afoot, with free agency four weeks away.

The 3 Wildest Offseason Theories for Vikings So Far

And to get your wheels turning on free agency and the 2024 NFL Draft, this publication will review the most outlandish Vikings-themed theories to date in the digital stratosphere.

Fans Already Split
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

They’re ranked in ascending order (No. 1 = wildest).

3. Signing Baker Mayfield

The 3 Wildest
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Via Reddit boardsYouTube fodder, and even Sports Illustrated, Mayfield possibly joining the Minnesota Vikings as a patchover quarterback surfaced in January.’s Will Ragatz wrote about Mayfield and the Vikings, “He threw for over 4,000 yards with 28 touchdowns and ten picks, earning a spot as a finalist for the comeback player of the year award. Now that Bucs offensive coordinator Dave Canales has been hired as Carolina’s head coach, Mayfield seems likely to head elsewhere in free agency. He might be rather interested in playing under Kevin O’Connell and throwing to the Vikings’ weapons.”

Because Daniel Jones set the market for average-to-decent quarterbacks last offseason, Mayfield will fetch about $28-$40 million annually per his next contract. The Vikings are already on the hook for $28.5 million in dead cap funds thanks to restructuring Kirk Cousins’ contract last year. That money has already been paid to Cousins and will now be reflected in the Vikings’ budget in 2024. It’s not a down payment for future performance; it’s finishing the bill from his last contract. Accounting for $28.5 million in dead Cousins cap, plus adding a cool $35 million for Mayfield, seems downright foolish.

Moreover, if Minnesota wants quarterback performance on par or better than Mayfield’s, well, it will simply re-sign Cousins. 

2. Trading Everything to Bears for 1st Overall Pick

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Last month, Bleacher Report dragged the Vikings’ trade racket to new extremes, projecting the Vikings’ price to barter with the Chicago Bears for the first overall pick. Long story short, the price is unholy. Including an NFC North rival tax, BR’s Brad Gagnon claimed the Vikings’ side of the bargain would be massive. Here’s the theoretical trade:

Vikings Get —
1st Overall Pick in 2024

Bears Get —
2024 1st-Rounder
2025 1st-Rounder
2026 1st-Rounder
2024 2nd-Rounder
2025 2nd-Rounder
2025 3rd-Rounder

That’s six players (picks, in this case) for the price of the top pick, presumably Caleb Williams from USC. Of course, Vikings fans wouldn’t lament the trade in retrospect if Williams later turned generationally productive, but this proposed trade haul is excessive — teetering on downright malarkey.

Almost all Vikings loyalists groaned when reading the alleged asking price.

1. Trading Justin Jefferson

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This one has been everywhere.

The Pioneer Press published the theory in January, arguing Minnesota should trade Jefferson to stockpile draft assets for the future. “There could be a better chance of Jefferson, 24, getting traded than anybody’s saying. That’s because it doesn’t make sense to pay the NFL’s best receiver the money he wants (expected to be at least $150 million over five years) on a team that’s not expected to be seriously competitive for several more years,” Pioneer Press’ Charley Walters opined.

If Minnesota traded Jefferson, it would likely secure two 1st-Round draft picks and an extra deal sweetener (or two). However, no credible voice inside or outside the organization has hinted at a trade as an option.

Walters added, “The market for Jefferson would depend on where a team trading for him is picking in April’s draft. But it would be more than two first-round picks. Trading Jefferson for high draft picks would allow the Vikings to rebuild the way the Lions and Bears have done the last two years, from the ground up.”

Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd endorsed the idea two weeks ago. So did former NFLer Kyle Long. Bleacher Report also chimed in on the trade-Jefferson train.

The Vikings will not trade Jefferson; you can write that in ink if not blood.

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