All things considered, the 2023 NFL season was a pretty long one for fans of the Minnesota Vikings. Sure, there was a five-game winning streak that was pretty awesome, but that was surrounded by stretches where the team went 1-4 and 1-5 and things kind of fell apart with the quarterback carousel the team went through after the injury to Kirk Cousins.
But, apparently, that just wasn’t enough for some, as we’ve already gotten what could be the most ridiculous take of the offseason from St. Paul Pioneer Press columnist Charley Walters.
Yes, we halfway through January and we’re into “The Vikings should trade Justin Jefferson” season.
Counter take: There is not a snowball’s chance in Miami that the Minnesota Vikings will be trading Justin Jefferson. I shouldn’t need to expand on that any further, but I will anyway.
The Vikings won’t be trading Justin Jefferson because there’s absolutely no chance you would get the proper value for him. With apologies to Tyreek Hill and a few others, when Justin Jefferson is healthy he’s the best wide receiver in the National Football League and there isn’t anyone that’s particularly close to him. A deal involving Jefferson would almost certainly have to involve multiple first-round picks and I’m just not sure what sort of team would be willing to do that. Maybe Kansas City or something, but that team drafts at the bottom of the first round pretty much every year and if you’re not going to get premium picks then what’s the point?
Also, with Jefferson not having an extension yet, any team that agreed to trade for him would then have to agree to give him the kind of money that will absolutely reset the market at the wide receiver position. So a team has to have room to make that happen, too.
I know that Stefon Diggs basically forced his way out of Minnesota a few years ago, giving the Vikings the opportunity to draft Jefferson in the first place. Jefferson, quite unlike Diggs, has been quite vocal about how much he enjoys Minnesota and hasn’t put anything on social media. . .cryptic or otherwise. . .that would lead anyone to believe that he would want to depart. Also, at no point in his time in Minnesota was Diggs considered the best wide receiver in the NFL. Frankly, you could make a convincing argument that Diggs wasn’t even the best wide receiver on the Vikings when he was in Minnesota. His value wasn’t anywhere near what Jefferson’s is right now.
Justin Jefferson is, at this point, the face of the Minnesota Vikings. He’s their best player, he’s their most well-known player, and he’s almost certainly the most popular player with the fan base. People griped when the Vikings traded Diggs away, but it would be straight-up pitchfork-and-torch time (rhetorically speaking) among the fan base if the team were to trade Jefferson away. You don’t really get better by trading away your best players, and whether this team is trying to be competitive or to rebuild or both, it’s a whole lot easier to do that with a player of Jefferson’s caliber on the roster.
It’s the offseason for everybody, and I understand that. And I suppose, in some way, Walters has accomplished what he wanted with his story. . .after all, here we are talking about it. But while it might be good for a chuckle, there’s really no reason to think that the Vikings would do something so dumb as to trade away the best wide receiver in the league and a guy that’s in the discussion for the honor of best non-quarterback in the NFL for a pittance. And that’s, essentially, what they’d get in any trade for Justin Jefferson.