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The Herschel Walker Trade, also known as "The Trade", was the largest player trade in the history of the National Football League.[1] It involved 18 players and/or draft picks.[2] The trade was made on October 12, 1989 between the Dallas Cowboys and the Minnesota Vikings.

Contents

Background

In his book, Greatest Team Ever: The Dallas Cowboys Dynasty of the 1990s, author Norm Hitzges chronicled the Herschel Walker trade.[3] Four games into the 1989 season, Jimmy Johnson, then head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, came up with the idea to trade Walker while on a morning jog with his staff. Johnson felt the Cowboys were so terrible that only a blockbuster trade could help them. He briefly considered trading wide receiver Michael Irvin to the Los Angeles Raiders, but Raiders owner Al Davis essentially talked Johnson out of the trade by saying, "You sure you want to do that? Who is going to catch passes for you?" Johnson felt that Walker was the only remaining bargaining chip they had.

A number of teams contacted the Cowboys when they announced that they would trade Walker. The New York Giants expressed interest, but the trade would have been unfavorable for Dallas since both teams were in the NFC East division. The Atlanta Falcons entered into negotiations, but eventually pulled out over fear of Walker's future contract demands. The most serious offer came from the Cleveland Browns.

Johnson stated, "[The Browns] offered us a player, a couple of future number one draft picks and three number two draft picks." The Cowboys felt this was a favorable offer, but they also felt that if another team were to enter the discussion, then they could generate a bidding war and thereby get even more compensation. Jimmy Johnson and team owner Jerry Jones decided to contact other clubs to generate buzz and create leverage. Johnson contacted Minnesota Vikings General Manager Mike Lynn. Johnson told Lynn that he was going to trade Walker to Cleveland that afternoon, and that if Minnesota would like to trade for Walker, then it would cost them "players, draft picks, conditional picks, and provisions," giving Lynn a deadline of 6:30 PM. Lynn, feeling Walker was the missing piece to a Super Bowl run, faxed Johnson that he was interested, and soon after negotiations ensued. In order to get Walker to agree to a trade, the Cowboys paid him a $1.25 million "exit bonus."[3]

The Trade [1]

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Minnesota Vikings Received

  • RB Herschel Walker
  • Dallas's 3rd round pick - 1990 (54) (Mike Jones)
  • San Diego's 5th round pick - 1990 (116) (Reggie Thornton)
  • Dallas's 10th round pick - 1990 (249) (Pat Newman)
  • Dallas's 3rd round pick - 1991 (68) (Jake Reed)

Dallas Cowboys Received

Aftermath and legacy/infamy

Dallas ended up with a total of six of Minnesota's picks over the succeeding years, two of which were used to draft Emmitt Smith and Darren Woodson. Jimmy Johnson used the other draft picks to make trades with other teams around the NFL. One of the trades led to obtaining the first overall draft pick in 1991, which was used to draft Russell Maryland. In other words, the trade of Herschel Walker to the Vikings contributed largely to the Cowboys' success in the early 1990s. For this reason, ESPN.com's Page 2 lists it as the 8th most lopsided trade in sports history. [1] Seventeen years later, the trade was still an easy target for satire: one ESPN columnist, assessing the impact of free agency on the NFL, noted that it had almost entirely replaced significant trades and by doing so, "took away one of the greatest shortcuts to becoming a Super Bowl champion: fleecing the Vikings." [2]

Despite Walker's performance as a Minnesota Viking, his trade was widely perceived as an exceptionally poor move for what the Vikings had to give up in order to get him, and remains one of the most frequently vilified roster moves of the team's history (indeed, in the history of Minnesota sports). "Herschel the Turkey," a mocking "honor" given out by the Star Tribune newspaper to particularly inept or disgraceful Minnesota sports personalities, is named for him. The trade was also made into an episode of ESPN Classic's The Top 5 Reasons You Can't Blame.... In 2008, the trade was selected by SI.com as the number one worst sports trade of all time.

References

  1. ^ a b "The Herschel Walker Trade". Viking Update. 1999. http://www.vikingupdate.com/history/historyprofiles/thetrade.html. Retrieved 2008-10-29.  
  2. ^ "Largest Trades in NFL History". Pro Football Hall of Fame. 2008. http://www.profootballhof.com/history/decades/1980s/eric_dickerson.jsp. Retrieved 2008-10-30.  
  3. ^ a b Hitzges, Norm; St. Angelo, Ron. Greatest Team Ever: The Dallas Cowboys Dynasty of the 1990s. Nashville, Tennessee: Rutledge Hill Press. pp. 25–26. ISBN 1-4016-0340-8.  

The Herschel Walker Trade, also known as "The Trade", was the largest player trade in the history of the National Football League.[1] It involved 18 players and draft picks.[2] The trade was made on October 12, 1989, between the Dallas Cowboys and the Minnesota Vikings.

Contents

Background

In his book, Greatest Team Ever: The Dallas Cowboys Dynasty of the 1990s, author Norm Hitzges chronicled the Herschel Walker trade.[3] Four games into the 1989 season, Jimmy Johnson, then head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, came up with the idea to trade Walker while on a morning jog with his staff. Johnson felt the Cowboys were so terrible that only a blockbuster trade could help them. He briefly considered trading wide receiver Michael Irvin to the Los Angeles Raiders, but Raiders owner Al Davis essentially talked Johnson out of the trade by saying, "You sure you want to do that? Who is going to catch passes for you?" Johnson felt that Walker was the only remaining bargaining chip they had.

A number of teams contacted the Cowboys when they announced that they would trade Walker. The New York Giants expressed interest, but the trade would have been unfavorable for Dallas since both teams were in the NFC East division. The Atlanta Falcons entered into negotiations, but eventually pulled out over fear of Walker's future contract demands. The most serious offer came from the Cleveland Browns.

Johnson stated, "[The Browns] offered us a player, a couple of future number one draft picks and three number two draft picks." The Cowboys felt this was a favorable offer, but they also felt that if another team were to enter the discussion, then they could generate a bidding war and thereby get even more compensation. Jimmy Johnson and team owner Jerry Jones decided to contact other clubs to generate buzz and create leverage. Johnson contacted Minnesota Vikings General Manager Mike Lynn. Johnson told Lynn that he was going to trade Walker to Cleveland that afternoon, and that if Minnesota would like to trade for Walker, then it would cost them "players, draft picks, conditional picks, and provisions," giving Lynn a deadline of 6:30 PM. Lynn, feeling Walker was the missing piece to a Super Bowl run, faxed Johnson that he was interested, and soon after negotiations ensued. In order to get Walker to agree to a trade, the Cowboys paid him a $1.25 million "exit bonus."[3]

The Trade

Minnesota Vikings received
  • RB Herschel Walker
  • Dallas's 3rd round pick - 1990 (54) (Mike Jones)
  • San Diego's 5th round pick - 1990 (116) (Reggie Thornton)
  • Dallas's 10th round pick - 1990 (249) (Pat Newman)
  • Dallas's 3rd round pick - 1991 (68) (Jake Reed)
Dallas Cowboys received

Source: [1]

Aftermath and Legacy/Infamy

Dallas ended up with a total of six of Minnesota's picks over the succeeding years, two of which were used to draft Emmitt Smith and Darren Woodson. Jimmy Johnson used the other draft picks to make trades with other teams around the NFL. One of the trades led to obtaining the first overall draft pick in 1991, which was used to draft Russell Maryland. In other words, the trade of Herschel Walker to the Vikings contributed largely to the Cowboys' success in the early 1990s. For this reason, ESPN.com's Page 2 lists it as the 8th most lopsided trade in sports history.[4] Seventeen years later, the trade was still an easy target for satire: one ESPN columnist, assessing the impact of free agency on the NFL, noted that it had almost entirely replaced significant trades and by doing so, "took away one of the greatest shortcuts to becoming a Super Bowl champion: fleecing the Vikings."[5]

References

  1. ^ a b "The Herschel Walker Trade". Viking Update. 1999. http://www.vikingupdate.com/history/historyprofiles/thetrade.html. Retrieved 2008-10-29. 
  2. ^ "Largest Trades in NFL History". Pro Football Hall of Fame. 2008. http://www.profootballhof.com/history/decades/1980s/eric_dickerson.jsp. Retrieved 2008-10-30. 
  3. ^ a b Hitzges, Norm; St. Angelo, Ron. Greatest Team Ever: The Dallas Cowboys Dynasty of the 1990s. Nashville, Tennessee: Rutledge Hill Press. pp. 25–26. ISBN 1-4016-0340-8. 
  4. ^ http://sports.espn.go.com/page2/s/list/trades/010716.html
  5. ^ http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/columns/story?columnist=mosley_matt&id=2785468


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