Prime Vikings Trade Partner Pushes Back on ‘Fair’ Deal Ahead of Draft

Kevin O'Connell, Minnesota Vikings

Getty Head coach Kevin O'Connell of the Minnesota Vikings.

If the Minnesota Vikings hoped they could get a deal on trading up for J.J. McCarthy from Los Angeles Chargers coach Jim Harbaugh, they might need to return to the drawing board.

Approaching the draft, Chargers general manager Joe Hortiz revealed that he’s not interested in a “fair trade” for the No. 5 overall pick, especially from quarterback-needy teams.

“They have to make it attractive for us to move away from those players,” Hortiz said on April 18, per ESPN. “The whole, ‘It’s a fair trade, it’s a wash’ — I don’t think that’s a trade that we’re interested in.”

A common draft scenario this offseason, if the Vikings cannot land a top-three quarterback, is to instead trade up to No. 5 and select the fourth quarterback off the board.

Harbaugh likened the Chargers’ spot as essentially the No. 1 overall pick due to the potential for all four teams ahead of them to select a quarterback — a message Hortiz echoed in his news conference.

“We believe we have the first pick of the draft. I know there’s going to be four picks that go before us, but we believe that,” Hortiz said. “We know it’s the fifth pick and people are going to be trading on that scope, but it’s got to be a good value for us. And does it have to be blown away? What is blown away? I don’t know the answer to that.”

The Vikings hold the No. 11 and No. 23 picks in the first round this year, which are central to a potential trade-up package in their pursuit of a future franchise quarterback.

Vikings Counter Pushback From Top-5 Trade Partners

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah

GettyMinnesota Vikings GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah.

It’s peak smokescreen season less than 48 hours before the draft and every team is contending they’re content with their spot — including the Vikings.

Bleacher Report insider Jordan Schultz reported on April 24 that the Vikings are “more likely to keep” the No. 11 and No. 23 picks entering the first round of the draft on April 25 but continue to explore options.

A deal happening before draft day was unlikely as teams in the top five hope to put pressure on the Vikings to make a desperate offer during the draft.

Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah said the Vikings are “in love” with several quarterbacks in the draft, meaning they may be inclined to decline a trade-up if the price of a deal is too high.

“It’s always about walkaway prices. And walkaway prices to me are meaningful because it’s another action. Your only leverage in the negotiation is your willingness to do something else,” Adofo-Mensah said. “So I’ve gotta say, ‘I will not do this because I would rather do these three other things and make our team better.’ It’s got to mean something.”

Vikings’ Favorite Draft Target Drake Maye Could Cost 4 1st-Round Picks?

Drake Maye

GettyDrake Maye

Draft season brings out the absurd and the Vikings have been at the epicenter of the pre-draft rumors.

One circles around the Vikings’ ideal quarterback Drake Maye, who could go as high as No. 2 or No. 3 in the draft.

The New England Patriots are considering a potential team that the Vikings could convince to trade down — however, Patriots sources have said the team is high on Maye and would want four first-round picks from the Vikings if he falls to No. 3.

Star Tribune beat reporter Andrew Krammer had a shrewd take on those rumors, saying that if the Patriots liked Maye that much, why wouldn’t they just take them?

That may be the game of chicken the Vikings have to play with the Patriots on draft day.