Prime Vikings Draft Trade Poised for Pitfall With Jim Harbaugh

The prevailing narrative behind why the Los Angeles Chargers would make an ideal draft trade partner for the Minnesota Vikings is Jim Harbaugh setting up his quarterback from Michigan, J.J. McCarthy, with the best situation possible in the NFL.

But what if Harbaugh is holding a vendetta against the Vikings?

Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio considered that Harbaugh may have some hard feelings toward the Vikings after he was turned down for the team’s head coach opening two years ago.

“You think if they called Jim Harbaugh, the team that spurned him when he thought he was going to be head coach of that team when he packed up his office and left in early 2022, fully believing he was going to get that job, and then he didn’t. You think he’s going to do them any favors? Hell no,” Florio said on an April 12 airing of Pro Football Talk. “That’s a problem the Vikings have.”

Even if Harbaugh doesn’t get in the way of a phone call for the No. 5 overall pick, he could have a say in the terms of the deal and drive a hard bargain as the Vikings’ final chance of landing a top-four quarterback in this year’s draft. Ideally, the Vikings wouldn’t have to give up a future first-round pick to trade to the fifth spot, giving up only the No. 11 and No. 23 picks in this year’s draft.

But if a team like the Chargers is trying to price gouge the Vikings, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Memsah expressed he’s willing to walk away from a bad deal despite the team’s needs for a future franchise quarterback.

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“I do think you’re supposed to price in, you know, a little bit of irrationality,” Adofo-Mensah said in an April 11 news conference, per The Star Tribune. “But then really, 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.”

Revisiting the Vikings’ Fallout With Jim Harbaugh

GettyFormer San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh stands on the field before a game against the Arizona Cardinals.

Getting his start under Harbuagh as the San Francisco 49ers manager of research and development back in 2013, Adofo-Mensah brought in Harbaugh as a head coach candidate back in 2022.

While Adofo-Mensah was lobbying for Harbaugh, the Vikings search committee, including Adofo-Mensah, was “blown away by Kevin O’Connell’s second interview, The Athletic’s Chad Graff reported.

Harbaugh visited the Vikings for his second interview and had already said his goodbyes at Michigan. However, the search committee wasn’t ready to give him the job and was looking for answers which led to an awkward ending to Harbaugh’s head coach candidacy.

“The Vikings had some hard questions to ask. They wanted to know more about his style and ability to work with others. They wanted to know more about how things ended with the 49ers. They wanted to hear his vision for leading this team back to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1977,” Graff wrote. “Sometime around 3 p.m., for reasons that are not exactly clear, things started to take a left turn. The tenor started to change, and if there was any momentum at Harbaugh’s back as he tried to secure the job, it disappeared.”

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After losing out on the job, Harbaugh cleared the air publicly in a text message to former Pioneer Press beat reporter Chris Tomasson.

“I just got a text from Jim Harbaugh, returning to Michigan job after #Vikings interview: ‘The Wilf family and organization are first class all the way and in every way and Kwesi (Adofo-Mensah) is a shining star! The team is poised for greatness.’ Classy comments from Harbaugh,” Tomasson posted on X (formerly Twitter).

Harbaugh may have let the disappointment of landing in Minnesota go, but that doesn’t mean he’s willing to do the Vikings any favors as Florio stated.

Vikings ‘In Love’ With Several QBs in 1st Round of NFL Draft

Getty2024 NFL draft quarterback prospects (from left) Caleb Williams, J.J. McCarthy, Jayden Daniels, and Michael Penix Jr.

While the Vikings acquiring the No. 23 pick in a trade with the Houston Texans helped their case for trading up in the draft, Adofo-Mensah is not wed to any outcome in the draft.

“There are multiple guys that we are in love with,” Adofo-Mensah said, per The Star Tribune. “But there’s also other guys that we are in love with … if we get them at a certain value.

By draft day, the Vikings will have met with five of the top six quarterback prospects in this year’s draft, excluding Caleb Williams who is bound to the Chicago Bears with the No. 1 overall pick.

While landing blue-chip prospects like Jayden Daniels, Drake Maye or McCarthy is ideal, Adofo-Mensah isn’t desperate to trade up if the price is too high and could opt to keep the picks and select a prospect outside the top 10 like Michael Penix Jr. or Bo Nix.

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