A Wonderful Way for Kwesi Adofo-Mensah to Torpedo His Career as the Vikings’ GM

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Minnesota Vikings
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If he wants to torpedo his career, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah can begin by trading Justin Jefferson.

By no means a great repository of wisdom, Twitter is more commonly found feasting on conjecture and nonsense. A great example rests in the theory that started picking up steam a couple days ago. The thinking is that partnering Jefferson with some high-round draft capital would be enough to jump into the top 3 of the NFL Draft. Colin Cowherd, no stranger to pot-stirring, is credited with getting this idea going.

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah Can Torpedo His Career by Trading Justin Jefferson

In his end-of-season press conference, Adofo-Mensah spoke about his desire to drop the “rebuild” portion from his competitive rebuild mantra.

“I think we’ve done a lot of positives,” Adofo-Mensah explains, “I think we’ve regained some of our financial flexibility.” He goes on: “Right now, in the competitive rebuild, we want to get to a place where there’s no rebuild, right? It’s just competitive in a window.”

NFL: Minnesota Vikings Training Camp
Jul 28, 2022; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah looks on during training camp at TCO Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

How would trading Jefferson, a legend among players and fans alike, square with what he just said? Gotta think it would be hard to sell the locker room on being competitive after moving on from someone who is historically great and only 24.

Of course, the option always exists that someone sends over a Godfather offer. Or, put differently, the kind of deal that can’t be refused. Once upon a time, Wayne Gretzky got traded, so it’s not like North American sport has never seen a blockbuster swap. If Gretzky can get traded, anyone can get traded.

Shipping the receiver out, though, would feel a lot like the Khalil Mack trade from the Raiders. No doubt, the Raiders got a ton for the top-tier pass rusher. What they did with that haul left a little to be desired, though.

NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers
Oct 1, 2023; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Chargers linebacker Khalil Mack (52) sacks Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Aidan O’Connell (4) during the first half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Mack got sent out with a 2nd and 7th. The Raiders received a pair of 1sts, a 3rd, and a 7th. The opening-round selections got sunk into Josh Jacobs and Damon Arnette. The 3rd was used on Bryan Edwards and the 6th got included in a separate trade. Is that anywhere close to good enough for Mack?

By the time he was traded in 2018, the pass rusher had been the Defensive Player of the Year and an All Pro. He had been to multiple Pro Bowls and was putting up some eye-popping numbers. Does that list of achievements sound at all familiar?

Oct 1, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) reacts after scoring a touchdown in the third quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Jefferson has won the Offensive Player of the Year award and been an All Pro. He has been to multiple Pro Bowls and his statistics point toward a historically-great receiver.

Even at a haul commensurate with what Mack demanded, a swap doesn’t make much sense. Neither does trading Jefferson for a top-rated QB. Ask yourself: do 1st-round QBs ever fail to live up to expectations?

A draft pick is nothing more than hope. There is tons of study and preparation beforehand but picks get sunk into players who are, by definition, unproven. Even if some work out — like Josh Jacobs, who is one of the NFL’s more talented runners — the deal is unlikely to return fair value.

NFL Executives Were Impressed by the Vikings 2023 Draft
Feb 28, 2023; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo Mensah speaks to the press at the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

At times, the huge deals can go well. The Cowboys pried away a ton of draft capital for Herschel Walker in a trade with the Vikings. Dallas benefited immensely; Minnesota suffered immensely. The team that shipped out a sensational player was rewarded.

It’s hard to imagine, though, that trading away Justin Jefferson would be anywhere close to as beneficial. Much more likely is a Khalil Mack scenario where the bevy of picks fail to justify the departure of an All Pro and future Hall of Fame inductee.

In the aforementioned press conference, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah spoke positively about reclaiming financial flexibility. What’s the point of having room in the budget? Well, one would think that the money could be used on keeping game-changing talent. Extending Jefferson even offers the potential of liberating close to $15 million in cap space in 2024, giving the Vikings more resources to dig deeper into their desire to compete.

Look for an extension, not a trade, when it comes to Jefferson. Any other route would likely be the beginning of the end for Adofo-Mensah’s time as Minnesota’s GM.

Editor’s Note: Information from Pro Football Reference and Over the Cap helped with this piece.

K. Joudry is the Senior Editor for Vikings Territory and PurplePTSD. He has been covering the Vikings full time since the summer of 2021. He can be found on Twitter and as a co-host for Notes from the North, a humble Vikings podcast.