Greatest trade for every NFL team in history

Quarterback John Elway #7 raises his hands in victory after he is pulled from the game in the final seconds of the Denver Broncos Super Bowl XXXIII victory over the Atlanta Falcons 34-19 at Pro Player Stadium in Miami, Florida, January 31, 1999. This would be John Elway's last football game of his career. (Photo by E. Bakke/Getty Images)
Quarterback John Elway #7 raises his hands in victory after he is pulled from the game in the final seconds of the Denver Broncos Super Bowl XXXIII victory over the Atlanta Falcons 34-19 at Pro Player Stadium in Miami, Florida, January 31, 1999. This would be John Elway's last football game of his career. (Photo by E. Bakke/Getty Images) /
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PASADENA, CA – JANUARY 31: Emmitt Smith #22 of the Dallas Cowboys runs the ball during Super Bowl XXVII at Rose Bowl Stadium on January 31, 1993 in Pasadena, California. The Cowboys beat the Bills 52-17. (Photo by Rogers Photo Archive/Getty Images)
PASADENA, CA – JANUARY 31: Emmitt Smith #22 of the Dallas Cowboys runs the ball during Super Bowl XXVII at Rose Bowl Stadium on January 31, 1993 in Pasadena, California. The Cowboys beat the Bills 52-17. (Photo by Rogers Photo Archive/Getty Images) /

Minnesota Vikings trade five players and eight draft picks to the Dallas Cowboys for Herschel Walker

The trade is known as the “Great Trade Robbery.” In total, it included 18 players and draft picks. On October 12, 1989, just four games into the season, the Minnesota Vikings traded away their future for running back Herschel Walker. At the time, Walker was seen as the final piece in the Vikings Super Bowl puzzle, but it didn’t work out that way.

Walker played in parts of three seasons in Minnesota, rushing for 2,264 yards and 20 touchdowns.

In the book, Greatest Team Ever: The Dallas Cowboys Dynasty of the 1990s, author Norm Hitzges says that the idea of trading Walker came to Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson when he was on his morning run. While the trade wasn’t a piece in a Super Bowl puzzle for Minnesota, it certainly was for Dallas.

For the Cowboys, the trade was not about the players, but the draft picks. They traded the 1990 first round pick they got from Minnesota (21) and their 81st overall pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers to move up to 17. With that pick, they selected Florida running back Emmitt Smith, who would go on to become the NFL’s all-time rushing leader.

The following draft, they used some of the picks to trade up to the first overall selection, where they selected University of Miami defensive lineman Russell Maryland. In 1992, the Cowboys used the second round pick they got from the Vikings to draft Darren Woodson, who would go on to be one of the more dominant defensive backs of the 1990s.

This trade helped form the Dallas Cowboys dynasty that dominated the NFL during the early ’90s. The Cowboys won the Super Bowl in 1992, 1993 and 1995. The Vikings haven’t been in the big game since 1976.

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