Minnesota Vikings Had a Good Reason to Walk Away from L’Jarius Sneed Trade

L'Jarius Sneed
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

When reports surfaced of the Kansas City Chiefs being willing to trade their star starting cornerback L’Jarius Sneed, who helped them win two Super Bowls, most didn’t expect the Minnesota Vikings to be involved. Not because the defense couldn’t use more help in the secondary, particularly at the corner position, but because of Sneed’s expected contract cost.

Sneed had already received the franchise tag, valued at $19.8 million, and was seeking a long-term extension. Plus, the Vikings would also have to part with more valuable draft capital, which may be needed to secure their future franchise quarterback.

Yet, somehow, the Vikings were actually involved in the Sneed trade discussions and were even reportedly one of the finalists. We also reported on Darren Wolfson’s nugget that Sneed would have “loved” to play for the Vikings.

Of course, the Sneed trade never materialized. Not for the Vikings, anyway.

The Chiefs traded Sneed to the Tennessee Titans for a 2025 third-round pick and a 2024 seventh-round pick swap. The Titans also paid him a four-year, $76.4 million extension, making him the sixth-highest-paid cornerback in average annual value.

Vikings Walked Away from L’Jarius Sneed Trade Due to Injury Concerns

The Minnesota Vikings may have been much closer to trading for L’Jarius Sneed than many realize. In fact, Chiefs writer Pete Sweeney indicated that the Vikings only walked away from Sneed due to injury concerns.

“At Arrowhead Pride, we have been told the Vikings considered sending the Chiefs a 2024 fourth-round pick and a 2025 third-round pick in exchange for Sneed, but they discontinued discussions due to his medical history.”

Pete Sweeney on Vikings’ L’Jarius Sneed trade rumors

Walking away from an expensive player over injury concerns makes sense for a defense that just got very little production out of Marcus Davenport, who inked a contract ‘worth up’ to $13 million ($10M guaranteed) last season. As the Arrowhead Pride website wisely pointed out, Sneed popped up on the injury report in 20 out of 22 weeks last season.

At a rate of $19M per year, that’s far too much of a risk, especially for a player who’s nowhere near a superstar, having never reached a Pro Bowl or earned All-Pro recognition. In turn, the Vikings keep their cap future looking healthy while retaining their draft capital to consider all options for a potential trade-up in the NFL Draft.

Just days before the trade was completed, the Vikings signed former Pro Bowl cornerback Shaquill Griffin for a much more reasonable $4.5 million. This move not only added more experience to the secondary but also allowed the Vikings to remain flexible in the draft and in future spending.

Related: Vikings, Raiders Reported as Most Desperate to Trade Up for QB… But For Who?

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