Purple Rumor Mill: Trading Justin Jefferson, Cousins & Belichick, Russell Wilson in Purple

Vikings Arrange Meeting with Top Receiver Prospect
Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports

VikingsTerritory’s Purple Rumor Mill is a two-day chronicle each week. All the week’s rumors are lassoed and plopped in two spots articles on Saturday and Sunday for review. Today is the January 21st edition.

Purple Rumor Mill: Trading Justin Jefferson, Cousins & Belichick, Russell Wilson in Purple

Remember — rumors are rumors. What you read on weekends in these pieces is what the world is talking about pertaining to the Vikings, not necessarily items that will come to fruition.

Here’s the second batch of the week. Yesterday’s can be read here.

Rumor: Numerous media outlets have advanced the idea of a Justin Jefferson trade this week.

Trading Justin
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The Pioneer Press published a theory last weekend, claiming 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.”

Bleacher Report and SKOR North have also broadcast trade-Jefferson fodder in the last few days.

Then, Kyle Long stated his case on CBS Sports airwaves this week for the Vikings to trade Jefferson in a since-deleted tweet. “The Minnesota Vikings, you need to trade Justin Jefferson. Because you’ve got the best receiver in football, but you didn’t win a Super Bowl. Kirk Cousins had an awesome year, but you’ve got other weapons in Braylon Addison, a number of receivers, you’ve got a great tight end there, you’ve got a coordinator, a great offensive mind at head coach,” Long spitballed.

Nobody knows who “Braylon Addison” is; perhaps it’s Jordan Addison.

Long added, “Go get rid of Justin Jefferson. Get a ton of other great players.”

The Vikings won’t trade Jefferson, but a lot of folks are talking about it.

Rumor: Kirk Cousins would enjoy playing for Bill Belichick, which could translate to the Atlanta Falcons.

Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports.

This week, Cousins updated the world on his injury recovery timetable and, out of nowhere, his enthusiasm to play for Bill Belichick if the former New England Patriots boss lands a job with the Atlanta Falcons.

Recovering from a torn Achilles suffered at Lambeau Field in late October, Cousins replied to Isabel Gonzalez when she asked if he’d enjoy playing for Bill Belichick, “I’m not going to turn down an opportunity to play with a future Hall of Fame coach, but we’ll have to see where March leads. There’s just a lot of unknowns right now.”

Belichick is a finalist for the Atlanta Falcons’ open head coach job, so if the Vikings opt not to re-sign Cousins, keep an eye on the Falcons as his next destination.

Normally, Cousins would say something like, “All I’m worried about right now is the QB1 job for the Minnesota Vikings.” He oddly didn’t say that.

Rumor: ESPN thinks Russell Wilson could be a fit in Minnesota and that he’d be intrigued by the relationship.

Landing Spot for You
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports.

Wilson and the Denver Broncos appear on the brink of full divorce after the veteran passer was benched down the stretch of the regular season in favor of Jarrett Stidham. Equipped with ample cashflow earned in Denver, Wilson could sign for cheap at his next destination — and ESPN believes that new NFL home could be the Vikings.

Of course, Minnesota already has a quarterback quandary. It must decide to re-up with Cousins for another year or two, although that option will likely cost $35-$45 million annually. The franchise could also say goodbye to Cousins altogether and start fresh with a rookie quarterback chosen in the 2024 NFL Draft.

But per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the Vikings cannot be ruled out of the budding Wilson Sweepstakes. “League sources see several logical fits for Wilson, who could thrive in an offense that schemes clearly defined throws off play-action and the running game. Don’t be surprised if Wilson, should he become a free agent, is intrigued by Minnesota, assuming Kirk Cousins doesn’t re-sign with the Vikings (a big if),” Fowler wrote Tuesday.

Wilson will be available for cheap this offseason because he’s still guaranteed mucho dinero for Denver. And if the Vikings need a patchover quarterback, in theory, it could be Wilson.


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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