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Report: Vikings eyed Nabers, would’ve traded Jefferson

Ian Maule / Getty Images Sport / Getty

It's no surprise that the Vikings tried to move into the top five during last month's NFL draft, but Minnesota reportedly wasn't targeting a quarterback as many expected.

The Vikings - who were linked to several QB prospects predraft - actually wanted to move up to draft LSU wide receiver Malik Nabers in a move that would've resulted in Minnesota trading All-Pro wideout Justin Jefferson, according to Charley Walters of the Pioneer Press.

The Vikings tried to acquire the No. 5 pick from the Los Angeles Chargers to land Nabers just ahead of the New York Giants, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported on draft day. The Chargers ultimately kept the pick and chose offensive lineman Joe Alt.

New York drafted Nabers sixth overall as the second receiver off the board, while the Vikings moved up one spot to select quarterback J.J. McCarthy at No. 10. The Michigan product was linked to Minnesota prior to the draft as Kevin O'Connell's outfit tried to replace starting quarterback Kirk Cousins. Reports in March said the Vikings planned to keep Jefferson despite losing Cousins to the Atlanta Falcons in free agency.

Jefferson has taken the NFL by storm since being drafted in the first round in 2020. Arguably the league's most valuable non-quarterback, the star pass-catcher has caught 392 passes for 5,899 yards and 30 touchdowns in four pro seasons.

The 24-year-old - who has averaged 98.3 receiving yards per game in the NFL - was also named 2022 Offensive Player of the Year. However, the Vikings and Jefferson have yet to agree to a contract extension. The former LSU star is entering the fifth year of his rookie contract and is expected to reset the wide receiver market when he signs a new deal.

The two sides are still talking but haven't made significant progress, according to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler. There's reportedly mutual interest in getting a deal done.

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