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The Athletic’s Vikings Reporter Disputes Justin Jefferson Trade Rumors


It’s rare to see a beat reporter publicly challenge trade rumors, especially ones initially shared by a colleague. However, Alec Lewis from The Athletic has decided to address the speculation about the Minnesota Vikings potentially trading their star wide receiver, Justin Jefferson.

“You can just say anything in this media environment, and no matter who you are someone will believe it and give it life, and there will be no repercussions for being totally wrong,” Lewis wrote on X, quote-tweeting a clip of Michael Lombardi discussing the trade rumor on The Pat McAfee Show. “What a time.”

Though it may seem like Lewis was criticizing Lombardi, it’s important to recognize that the Jefferson trade rumor has been circulating for a few days. It appears that the speculation began with an article by Charley Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Walters wrote that there was “buzz at draft time that the Vikings wanted to move from No. 11 to No. 5, not to pick a quarterback but to get LSU wide receiver Malik Nabers, who was picked No. 6 by the Giants. Had that trade occurred, Jefferson would have been traded and Nabers would have been the No. 1 receiver.”

Mike Florio from Pro Football Talk seemingly backed part of Walters’ report, mentioning that he also heard (but could not confirm) that the Vikings attempted to trade up to draft Nabers in April. Florio found it unusual that Walters’ information was not featured in a standalone article for the St. Paul Pioneer Press but nonetheless suggested that the reporting should not be dismissed.

Walters’ report and Florio’s comments fueled the trade rumor, leading to a discussion on The Pat McAfee Show, where Lombardi presented the information as fact. It’s unclear if Lewis was criticizing Walters, Florio, Lombardi, McAfee, or a mix of all four. Alternatively, he might have been commenting on the broader issue of news aggregation in sports media, a topic recently addressed by The Athletic.

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