Who is on the Purple Podium for Minnesota’s Most Untradeable Players?

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Oct 9, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) and quarterback Kirk Cousins. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Much of the recent discussion has focused on who the Vikings might look to acquire in advance of the NFL’s trade deadline. After all, the day is a bit more than a week away, so ’tis the season for trade speculation. That being said, we haven’t seen as much focus on Minnesota’s most untradeable players.

For this reason, a recent tweet from Pro Football Talk caught my eye. It’s a simple yet fascinating debate: who are the most untradeable players in the NFL? Take a look at who PFT comes up with for an initial list:

Truthfully, I’m not in a great position to comment on the league’s most untradeable players, so I’ll stick with Minnesota’s roster. Before getting too far ahead of myself, though, I should note that there is some merit in the notion that there’s no such thing as someone who can’t be traded. Rather, it’s a matter of getting the right price for Elite Player X or Y. At times, the price is so high that the player is essentially untradeable, but the point remains: many people believe that any player can be had as long as there is sufficient compensation.

Alas, we won’t venture down that path too far. Let’s simply begin with the most obvious name: Mr. Justin Jefferson. He gets the non-literal gold medal atop the purple podium of players who won’t get traded by the Vikings.

The 23-year-old wide receiver was drafted in the opening round of the 2020 Draft. Since then, Jefferson has distinguished himself as one of the NFL’s preeminent receivers. What he has accomplished in his 2+ seasons has been – with no sense of hyperbole – historic. Oh, and given that he’s only in his third season, Jefferson comes with a cap hit just below $3.6 million, per Over the Cap. Next season, the number grows to $4.175 million and then the team has a 5th-year option.

I can’t imagine too many GMs think they have a shot at getting Jefferson from Minnesota. If they do, they’d need be willing to offer a truly massive amount of draft capital. Even that might not be enough to get a deal done.

After Jefferson, the next most obvious name is Kirk Cousins. Recently, Josh Frey took on this topic, making a case for and against a trade. The chances of him being moved this season are essentially zero. First, there is the basic fact that this team is contending. At 5-1, the Vikings have a great chance to snag the NFC North. Second, the contract is prohibitive for the vast majority of teams. Folks, Cousins isn’t going anywhere, at least not during the season. It’s possible that something happens in the offseason.

Otherwise, we move onto players whose chances of being traded increase by a fair bit but who are still very unlikely to be moved. Eric Kendricks, Adam Thielen, Danielle Hunter, Dalvin Cook, Dalvin Tomlinson, Za’Darius Smith, and Patrick Peterson can all help a team contend. Unless something unforeseen happens, none will be playing elsewhere in 2022.

Nevertheless, one player stands out as more unlikely to be traded: sophomore LT Christian Darrisaw.

Darrisaw is only 23 and is already one of the best tackles in the NFL. While I’m not quite ready to say he’s elite, Darrisaw is certainly getting close to that range. Currently, he’s the 5th-ranked OT on PFF. As a rookie, he finished 36th overall, a strong spot considering he was making the jump to the NFL and had to overcome an injury to begin the year. Adofo-Mensah would need to receive an incredible offer to even consider moving the young offensive lineman.

The Vikings have a lot of good players, so it’d make some sense if teams do call. Nevertheless, the basic reality is that the Vikings are looking to compete for a Super Bowl in 2022; their 5-1 record puts them in a great position to make a push for the playoffs. To my mind, Minnesota’s most untradeable players are Jefferson, Cousins, and Darrisaw.