The 5 Most Ridiculous Moments of the Vikings’ Offseason | 2024

justin jefferson
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The Minnesota Vikings revealed an essence of change this offseason, parting ways with franchise cornerstones Kirk Cousins and Danielle Hunter.

J.J. McCarthy and Dallas Turner took their spots in April, and Minnesota now peers to the future, especially at quarterback, for the first time in about a decade.

The 5 Most Ridiculous Moments of the Vikings’ Offseason | 2024

Along the way, with training camp less than two weeks away, several bizarre happenings have transpired. These are those items ranked in ascending order (No. 1 = most ridiculous).

5. Sean Mannion Retires and Joins Packers‘ Coaching Staff

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On February 3rd, ESPN’s Brady Henderson tweeted, “Former Rams, Vikings and Seahawks QB Sean Mannion is ending his nine-year NFL playing career and has accepted a position on the Packers’ coaching staff, a source tells me. He’ll work with QBs and the passing game.”

No Vikings fan really cared that Mannion joined the Packers’ coaching staff, but one might’ve thought he’d join the Vikings‘ coaching staff after so many years of hopscotch on the roster, practice squad, and back and forth to the Seattle Seahawks.

Nope — Mannion accepted employment with Minnesota’s most-hated rival.

4. Kirk Cousins’ Word Salad

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In January, Cousins said: “At this stage in my career, the dollars are really not what it’s about. I had a coach who I was with who was a younger coach at the time. This was back eight, nine years ago, before my first franchise tag, and we were talking about the situation and he made a great comment. He said, ‘Kirk, it’s not about the dollars, but it is about what the dollars represent.’ I thought that was an interesting comment that he made. There will always be some of that.”

He also added that the structure was more important than the salary.

Two months later, Cousins accepted the largest contract — with the most guaranteed money — available to him with the Atlanta Falcons.

“Structure” turned out to be code for more money that the Vikings evidently wouldn’t offer.

3. Sean Payton’s Lie

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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 … Man, you just don’t want others to know our focal point.”

This was false. Payton made it up.

Fantasy Life‘s Thor Nystrom tweeted in June, “The Rams called the Jets and Vikings about moving up — ostensibly to hop the Raiders for Bowers — but KOC told McVay the Vikes were holding for their guy. Turns out Minny was the Rams’ competition for NYJ’s 1.10 pick. Minnesota’s target? JJ McCarthy.”

It was the Rams jostling with the Vikings — not the Broncos, per Payton’s declaration. Payton just fibbed for the heck of it.

2. Michael Penix Jr. to the Falcons

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Of course, generally speaking, Penix Jr. to the Falcons doesn’t matter to the Vikings. However, the draft selection was so stunning because Atlanta already had Kirk Cousins on the roster. When the dust settled on the Falcons’ selection, Vikings fans realized that Atlanta was so close to ruining McCarthy-to-Minnesota.

In fact, with the Falcons’ draft plan — getting ready for the post-Cousins era before it began — Atlanta probably should have drafted McCarthy, who is about three years younger than Penix Jr.

Minnesota dodged a bullet if McCarthy was the team’s preference. Otherwise, the Vikings would’ve been “stuck” with Penix Jr. or Bo Nix.

1. Justin Jefferson Trade Rumors

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For months, leading up to and after the draft, NFL-themed media published trade theories, packages, and opinions about Justin Jefferson.

That’s after Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell said in February that trading Jefferson was ridiculous. O’Connell told PFT Live, “Let me dissect it for you. We have had zero discussions, dialogue about that, either internally, externally, on this planet or another planet.”

Everybody ignored the Vikings’ leadership, insisting instead that Jefferson was on the trade block.

But he never was, and anybody or any article running with Jefferson trade theories was simply for website traffic. Minnesota never had any plans whatsoever to offload the phenom wide receiver.

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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