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Rumor Has it the Vikings Have Approached the Patriots About Trading for the No. 3 Pick

Christian Petersen. Getty Images.

As we go through the process of an offseason where the Patriots have the biggest holes to fill since the early '90s, but the most resources they've probably ever had:

… you'll have to forgive me if all of this is unfamiliar to me. Sure, there is a world of opportunity to be had. But I'm also way out into uncharted waters where the map reads "THAR BE MONSTERS." 

This time of year, I'm used to reading reports that the Patriots are lying in the weeds of the mid-to-late 1st round, putting together a package to dramatically move up and take [Insert name of familiar superstar prospect]. Reading them and derisively mocking them for the ridiculous nonsense they were. (Does anyone else remember the talk about how Josh McDaniels personally scouting Joe Burrow meant a deal was about to get done? I can't find my receipts but I know I have them stashed somewhere.) 

But this is a brave new world of possibilities where nothing can be ruled out. Allegedly Eliot Wolf is making the calls. And he could be open to anything. We simply have no playbook on him. He won't even give his first press conference on the job until he arrives at the Combine tomorrow. And I don't hold out hope he'll bare his soul and give us his entire game plan for rebuilding this roster that's in desperate need of a rebuild. So when we hear rumors that a huge trade could be in the works, you can't just dismiss it as nonsense. Like this one:

Giphy Images.

Here's the thing about this particular rumor at this particular moment in history. First of all, it has an almost perfect precedence we can measure it by. The New England has the 3rd pick, Minnesota has the 11th. The going rate for a move up that far up the board was established three drafts ago, when San Fran went up to No. 3 to get Trey Lance. It was their No. 12 pick, their 1st and 3rd rounders in 2022, and their 1st in 2023. Making this a no-brainer. If Vikings GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah wants to hold Wolf's attention, he makes that his opening offer or the conversation is over. 

And if that's the case, I jump on it. Yes, getting a franchise quarterback to build around is Wolf's Prime Directive. It's also Priorities 2-99. Until they find an elite passer capable of not just winning games, but carrying them to wins when every other facet of their game isn't working, nothing else will matter. But when you can guarantee yourself six 1sts in the next three drafts, plus add a third, you leap at that. Say YES and shake on it before Adofo-Mensah has a chance to change is mind. I'm partial to LSU's Jayden Daniels, but for a motherlode of draft gold like that, I'm willing to delay my gratification. 

Besides this is exactly what a franchise should do after making major changes in management. It's not like if Wolf and Jerod Mayo don't win a playoff game this year everyone's getting fired. Rebuilders get the luxury of time that isn't afforded to the greatest coach/GM in history. Cliched metaphors about hot seats, closing windows and time running out do not apply. Not for a few years at least. Take advantage of the time you have and load the hell up. 

But there's another facet to this too. One that doesn't involve three 1st round picks, but actually makes it all the more interesting. And that is Justin Jefferson. 

I don't mean this lunacy:

The Vikings have been trying and failing to sign him. But the idea of trading him was considered heresy in Minnesota. Until it wasn't:

MSN - [T]he Minnesota Vikings are working to decide on what to do with superstar receiver Justin Jefferson … with rumors that Minnesota is considering a blockbuster trade offer for Jefferson to avoid paying him what might be a historic receiver contract extension. The phrase being used in Minny is apparently "growing steam.''

Now, if Bill Belichick was still calling the shots, I'd laugh this idea off even harder than any trade speculation ever. He didn't value receivers enough to pay one the way Jefferson is about to be paid. Or anything close to it. I think the most he ever signed one for was Wes Welker, for about $9 million a season. And he was right not to hand out giant cardboard checks to those guys because he was capable of competing every year with late round picks and UDFAs. Mainly because of the quarterback he had. But also because the game was as much about scheming guys open than it was about pure, filthy athleticism.

That has changed. It's evolved to the point it's much more about matchups. About winning battles with pure talent. And Jefferson has as much if not more than anyone. Which is expensive. And Wolf and Mayo just happen to have (at least according to Patscap) the second most cap space in the league at the moment. And according to Over the Cap, the most for 2025. By a margin of $29 million. Acquire Jefferson in a deal that involves the No. 3 pick. Shoot your shot on a potential 2nd round QB like South Carolina's Spencer Rattler, and see where that takes you. 

What exactly is the going rate for Jefferson then? That's to be determined. I think you take advantage of the fact Minnesota can't afford him but you can, and leverage the bejeebers out of that fact. Personally, I'd offer to take him instead of that third No. 1 pick, but their mileage may vary. Regardless, the baseline for any deal has to the price the 49ers paid three years ago. And I think you'd be insane to take anything less. 

However it plays out, we are in for the wildest offseason ride we've ever had around here. And I'm hear for every bit of it.