It makes me wonder what in the heck the Vikings are doing. I'll start with some points.
1. Justin Jefferson is the best WR in the game. He's the best WR probably in the past 10 years.
2. As such, he deserves to be paid. Tyreek Hill got an AAV of $30 million a year. JJ deserves more. He's earned it, and he's likely to keep earning it.
3. As Mike Florio pointed out on Pro Football Talk, the Vikings have a history of trading superstar WRs in the prime of their careers — Moss, Harvin and Diggs.
Is it possible the Vikings are actually thinking about trading Justin Jefferson?
At first blush, it's easy to say, "No way. You don't trade a generational talent."
Really? We traded Randy Moss for a first-rounder (Troy Williamson) and a freaking linebacker. Randy Moss may be the best WR the game has ever seen.
It begs the question: Why would you trade Justin Jefferson?
The answer: Kirk David Cousins.
Cousins is 35. He's in the last year of his contract. He's likely gone after this year. At that point, what do the Vikings do for a quarterback? Yes, they stunk it up on Sunday against the Bucs, but they're talented enough to win, say, 8 games. That puts them anywhere from 11th to 14th in draft order — not high enough to get Caleb Williams or Drake Maye, and likely not enough draft capital to trade up without heavily mortgaging future drafts.
Let's say the Colts, who believe they have their franchise quarterback in Anthony Richardson, finish with the worst record in the league. They don't need a QB, so might they be open to offers for the No. 1 pick? Let's say KAM picks up the phone and calls Christopher Ballard: "Chris. Kwesi. We'll give you JJ and the 12th pick for the No. 1 and a third. Best WR in the league to go with AR. Whadya say, buddy? Deal?"
I AM NOT SAYING THIS IS WHAT I WANT. I AM ALSO NOT PREDICTING IT WILL HAPPEN.
But again, why are the Vikings fooling around with this? It makes no sense. If they really want to keep JJ, they'd get a deal done. Do they honestly think his asking price is going to go DOWN after this season? Kid is playing his a$$ off, despite not having a deal, despite being paid a ridiculous $2.4 million this year.
It makes me wonder if the Vikings aren't angling for their next franchise QB, and if they're using their most valuable commodity to do it. After all, Kwesi is a stock trader. I wouldn't put this past him. And guys, Caleb Williams is an absolute STUD.
(Just a reminder. You may think I'm crazy, but you — meaning the majority of people on the board who commented — also said I was crazy when I predicted they'd release Adrian Peterson, and you said I was crazy when I predicted they'd get rid of Stefon Diggs.)
I'll leave you with Mike Florio's speculation on PFT. Interested in your thoughts. Peace out.
He has earned a contract that would pay him much more than the slotted $2.4 million he’s due to make this year. Frankly, it’s an embarrassment that he’s only getting $2.4 million for 2023, given what he has done — and given what he likely will do again.
At some point, Jefferson (who currently seems to be very good natured and willing to go along with the situation) might change his mind and ask to be traded to a team that will pay him what he’s worth. It happened with three great receivers in 2022: Devante Adams, Tyreek Hill, and A.J. Brown. It could happen with Jefferson in 2024.
The Vikings clearly aren’t sweating that possibility. As I’ve said before, the failure to extend Jefferson could be the first step in a scenario that entails trading him to a team holding a draft pick high enough to deliver a franchise quarterback for the Vikings.
Yes, Jefferson is great. So was Moss, Harvin, and Diggs. And the Vikings got to a grand total of no Super Bowls with those other players on the team.
A franchise quarterback means more to an NFL organization than a stellar receiver. And if rookie receiver Jordan Addison turns out to be a great receiver, too, the Vikings can keep him and trade Jefferson in a way that positions them to get the true, year-in-and-year-out franchise quarterback they haven’t had since they traded with the Giants to bring Fran Tarkenton back to Minnesota in the 1970s.
That could be the plan. If it isn’t, it could become the reality — if/when Jefferson decides he’s had enough of his skills and abilities not being properly recognized and compensated.