Vikings insider pours cold water on Justin Jefferson trade rumor

Minnesota Vikings WR Justin Jefferson
Minnesota Vikings WR Justin Jefferson / Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings and their fans continue to hold their breath over a contract extension for Justin Jefferson.

But as everyone continues to wait, one Vikings insider threw some cold water on a rumor that would have landed New York Giants rookie wide receiver Malik Nabers in Minnesota and sent Jefferson to get paid somewhere else.

ESPN’s Kevin Seifert responded to a rumor that was hinted at by Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio and recently re-shared by Charley Walters of the Pioneer Press that said that the Vikings were interested in trading up with the Los Angeles Chargers for the fifth overall pick in last month’s draft to select Nabers.

ESPN's Kevin Seifert says Minnesota Vikings have "no interest" in trading Justin Jefferson

While Walters took Florio’s speculation a step further by saying that Minnesota would trade Jefferson had they acquired Nabers, Seifert posted on Twitter on Tuesday that the speculation was false, and the Vikings are continuing to work on a new deal for their star receiver.

“This rumor has made the rounds, and it’s admittedly juicy, but the Vikings did not try last month to trade up and draft [Nabers]. Great player, but the Vikings have a better one in [Jefferson]. Still working to extend Jefferson and no interest in trading him."

Nabers would have been an interesting addition for the Vikings, but it wouldn’t have made sense to rely on him as a one-for-one replacement for Jefferson. Trading Jefferson would have saved money for a player who Albert Breer reported could command over $100 million in guarantees on his next contract, but it would have contradicted one of the biggest reasons Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah believes a young quarterback can thrive in Minnesota.

“I think it’s obviously out there and the results of quarterbacks that were drafted and different things like that…but we also look at the environment and are we setting the person up to succeed,” Adofo-Mensah said during his pre-draft press conference earlier this year. “When we talk about these players, it’s not just how good they are. It’s how do we get the best version of themselves if they come to the Minnesota Vikings, and we set up plans before they walk in the building.”

Nabers rightfully was a top prospect in the 2024 draft after catching 89 passes for 1,569 yards and 14 touchdowns during his final season at LSU. But relying on Nabers to have a seamless transition and replace a player who caught 68 passes for 1,074 yards and five touchdowns, even with Nick Mullens, Joshua Dobbs, and Jaren Hall as his quarterback, is a tall ask.

If anything, the addition of Nabers would have been used to form a new version of the “Three Deep” poster every Vikings fan has in their man cave. While the Vikings had the 11th overall pick, it could have been used to move up to pick No. 5 to get Nabers and use the No. 23 pick to trade up for what turned out to be either J.J. McCarthy – who the Vikings traded up one spot to select with the 10th overall pick – or Bo Nix, who went 12th overall to the Denver Broncos.

While that seems far-fetched, the Vikings wound up trading up from both picks anyway, as they traded up for edge rusher Dallas Turner in the first round. If the Vikings regarded Nabers in the same vein, what would have stopped them from making that trade and pairing Nabers with Addison and Jefferson?

That scenario isn’t as juicy as replacing Jefferson with Nabers, however, and rumors like this will continue to pop up until Jefferson signs on the dotted line.

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