Vikings, Patriots reportedly got stonewalled in blockbuster QB trade attempt

The Minnesota Vikings and New England Patriots reportedly tried — and failed — to land one of the NFL's top quarterbacks via trade.
Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers
Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers / Katelyn Mulcahy/GettyImages

The Minnesota Vikings and New England Patriots both selected quarterbacks in the top 10 of the NFL Draft. Before landing on J.J. McCarthy and Drake Maye, however, the Vikings and Pats were interested in a more established option — Los Angeles Chargers QB Justin Herbert.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Chargers "quickly turned down" offers for Herbert. GM Joe Horitz mentioned receiving inquiries at the Combine, but did not divulge the specifics.

"Justin who? No. No, at the combine I had some people ask me would we consider it, and they were quickly shot down. No, that is never an option."

The Chargers obviously like Herbert, but there was financial motivation against a trade, too. Los Angeles would have faced a $63.5 million cap charge this season had they dealt the Oregon product, who signed a five-year, $262.5 million contract last summer.

Chargers tell Vikings, Patriots no deal when asked about Justin Herbert trade

This is hardly shocking. Every front office does its due diligence (or at least should) and Jim Harbaugh's fondness for J.J. McCarthy is well documented. It never made sense financially or otherwise, but smart front offices surely checked in with LA, just in case.

Ultimately, though, it was never remotely possible. Herbert is too expensive to trade and, well, he's also too valuable. The Chargers have a lot of problem areas to address, but it's hard to land a top-shelf quarterback. That is arguably the most important building block for an aspiring contender. The Chargers never have to worry about their quarterback's ability to execute under pressure and create explosive plays. Trading him to invest in an unproven rookie would have been foolish.

The Herbert experience has been up and down at times, but that is largely a factor of his subpar supporting casts and the poor coaching of Brandon Staley. Herbert was excellent individually despite the Chargers' rampant inadequacies last season, completing 65.1 percent of his passes for 3,134 yards, 20 touchdowns, and seven interceptions in 13 starts.

At 26 years old, Herbert has a long prime window ahead of him. He is only getting started and the Chargers should move in a much more positive direction with Harbaugh in charge. Harbaugh loves good QBs, and Herbert is one of the best in recent memory. The 2020 Rookie of the Year can let it fly with the best of 'em. Now the Chargers just need to put a half-decent WR corps around him.

Herbert in New England would have been one thing, but Herbert in Minnesota is a frightening thought. Putting Herbert in the Kevin O'Connell offense, with Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, and T.J. Hockenson flanking him, is quite the tantalizing concept. That would have removed any and all excuses for Minnesota to not pay Jefferson, even with Herbert's massive contract. It also would have launched the Vikings to the top of the NFC hierarchy in a snap.

It didn't happen, though, and it was never going to. Now that Los Angeles went for OT Joe Alt and made clear its desire to build around Herbert, we can lay those silly rumors to rest.

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