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10 Fascinating Facts about the Herschel Walker Trade

Image Credit: (Manny Rubio/USA Today)

Written by: Nicholas Mullick


Twitter: @NicholasMullick

When you think of notable trades in the NFL there are a ton of names that you can mention. The most obvious, mentioned, and notable one ever made is called the Herschel Walker Trade. This is the trade that is often regarded as one of the most lopsided trades ever and if you want to see that trade it is below.

This is the move that started the Cowboys Dynasty in the 90’s and pretty much made Jerry Jones a made man as an owner in this league. While diving into the Herschel Walker trade there is a lot of information I found fascinating about the trade. So, I decided to create an article, giving 10 fascinating facts about the Herschel Walker trade.

10. The Atlanta Falcons had early interest in acquiring Walker via trade.

Image Credit (University of Georgia Athletics)

Now here is something you probably didn't know. Whenmany think of the Walker trade many think of the Vikings, Cowboys, and Chargers as all three were involved in the real life deal. However there were other teams that has strong interest in acquiring Walker. One of those teams were the Atlanta Falcons and it makes a lot of sense as to why they were one of the first teams to contact the Cowboys in regards to the trade. Walker was a big college football star at the University of Georgia and he even grew up in the state too. He would have fit like a glove if he was shipped to the Falcons via trade. However a big issue was more of a salary issue. The Falcons feared that Walker was going to want a new deal and they were already pushed at the salary cap. So before talks got super serious, the Falcons decided to pull out of negotiations as a result. It was probably the right decision knowing the deal the Vikings had to pay to even get Walker to want to come to Minnesota (Oh, we’ll get to that).

9. Herschel Walker almost got traded to the Cleveland Browns

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This is kind of common knowledge as the Browns were in a bidding war with the Vikings, but they were super close to almost pulling the trigger on getting the deal done. The deal was super tempting too as in the original offer the Browns were willing to deal 2 1st Round picks, 3 2nd round picks and a positional player. However two things held them back from taking this deal. Jerry Jones thought they could get more for Walker and the Browns did not have a 1st in the 1990 NFL Draft. That year is important as the Cowboys did not have a 1st in that draft originally as it was given up in order to acquire Steve Walsh via the Supplemental Draft. So the Cowboys wanted to have a 1st in that year's draft in order for the deal to go through.

8. Jimmy Johnson introduced the idea of the trade while jogging

Image Credit: (Pat Sullivan/Dallas Morning News)

That's right, the entire idea of the trade was first mentioned via a jog. Normally Head Coach Jimmy Johnson would usually jog before getting his day started and while on the jog with the staff that was around him. Johnson realized that they were not going to win with the current core that they had and needed to make a blockbuster move to help them out. He had two options to either trade RB Herschel Walker or WR Michael Irvin. We know who Johnson chose to trade in this scenario and there is one person who helped him.

7. Al Davis indirectly convinced Jimmy Johnson and Jerry Jones to trade Herschel Walker over Michael Irvin.

Image Credit (Las Vegas Journal)

Like I said previously, Jimmy Johnson realized the team was going nowhere and needed to make a blockbuster deal. The two options he had were to either trade Herschel Walker or Michael Irvin. While on the phone making trades offers, Jimmy Johnson and Jerry Jones got a phone call from Oakland Raiders Owner Al Davis. He was very interested in Michael Irvin and he said something that stuck with Jimmy Johnson. Davis said that “I’d be happy to trade for him, but you need to keep Michael Irvin,...He can smell the end zone.” That conversation led to Johnson and Jones taking Davis’s advice and it led to them no longer wanting to trade Irving and their attention was solely focused on trading Herschel Walker. So Davis indirectly led to the Cowboys making the blockbuster deal moving Walker over Irvin. If it was not for Al Davis, maybe Walker would still be a Cowboy or Michael Irvin would have been a Raider for most of his career. This also is another example of why Al Davis was a genius knowing Irvin’s worth.

6. Many originally thought the Cowboys got fleeced, because they failed to duplicate the Eric Dickerson trade

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Well this one is 50/50 as a lot of fans and analysts hated the Cowboys making this deal. While the Cowboys got more players in the deal, those players were mainly backups who had injury concerns. However that just added ammo to the hatred as the Eric Dickerson trade happened around this time too and the Rams got more of a haul then the Cowboys did. The Rams got three 1st round picks, three second round picks, and 2 regular players in the Dickerson deal alone. This of course had many in Dallas angry originally when this deal happened and they thought that the Cowboys got fleeced.

But they were not the only ones angry with this trade happening.

5. Darren Nelson almost jeopardized the trade by threatening retirement

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Yeah, this was a big problem as Darren Nelson did not want to get traded to Dallas and he threatened retirement if he was forced to play in Dallas. Which would have been a problem in confirming the deal. Nelson's reason for why he did not want to get traded is because, “It’s nothing against Dallas, but I just may decide to stay in Minneapolis where my wife has a good law practice. That’s where my family is and I may just decide not to play the rest of the year.” and “I wanted to go to a place that if it wasn’t winning right away, they’d have potential to win. I told Dallas that if I was 24 or 25, I’d be glad to stay in Dallas.”

So, this is where the San Diego Chargers come into play. Nelson was interested to play for the Chargers and approved of him being sent there. So in the deal he was shipped off to the Chargers for a 5th round pick that went to Minnesota. In this deal happening the Cowboys got a 2nd and 6th round pick to utilize as well the Vikings. So in the end it all worked out.

4. Issiac Holt is the only player in the deal not selected with a draft pick, that won a Superbowl with the Cowboys

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It was obvious in the deal that the Cowboys were more interested in the draft picks and took on more players with the goal of acquiring more picks. However there is one player involved in this deal that did win a superbowl with the Cowboys and his name is Issiac Holt. Holt never really started for the team in 1989 due to the picks they got being conditional, but he was pretty decent with the Cowboys. With him showing how useful he was as a rotational player and on special teams, the Cowboys decided to keep him on the team for a few years. It turn out to be a smart move as Holt got better and became a piece on that Super Bowl XXVII Cowboys Squad that would embarrass the Buffalo Bills 52-17. Holt did not last long as he parted ways with the Cowboys in 1992, but he got a SuperBowl ring out of it. He is the only player acquired in the deal (not drafted with one of the picks) that actually did win a Superbowl with the Cowboys and that is just crazy to think about.

3. The Vikings did get a Hidden Gem Asset in this trade

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While the Herschel Walker deal has largely been a bad deal for the Vikings, there is one asset that they got which was a hidden gem for the Vikings. It was the 3rd round pick in the 1991 NFL Draft as they used that pick to draft WR Jake Reed. Now his name does not get brought up often as Cris Carter and Randy Moss played during the time Reed played as a Viking, but Reed was very solid during his tenure with the Vikings. Heck he even had four 1,000-yard seasons in his career as a Viking. Another crazy fact is that Cris Carter and Jake Reed became the first teammate duo to amass 1,000 yards each in four consecutive seasons, which is crazy. To be honest, I am a bit shocked that Reed is not in the Vikings Ring of Honor. It does not make up for what the Cowboys had, but it often gets overshadowed that the Vikings in one of those picks they got in the Walker trade was utilized on Jake Reed.

2. Herschel Walker almost vetoed the trade to Minnesota Vikings

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That's right, this trade almost never came to be thanks to Herschel himself. In fact in his contract he has a trade-veto clause, which means he had the power to veto any trade that was made involving him. It is sort of similar to what a no trade clause is. The reason why he originally did not want to get traded there is due to his wife Cindy. Apparently his wife did not want to go anywhere near Minnesota or move to a more frigid environment and was very close to vetoing this trade in general. Which I don’t blame him for as you know the old saying “happy wife, happy life”. Luckily though he and his wife were convinced to allow the trade to happen.

1. How the Walker was convinced to come play in Minnesota

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So with Walker hesitant to want to join Minnesota he had to be convinced to join them and lets just say they did it with some pizzazz. Not only did he get his salary doubled, which they pretty much were going to do anyway, but they gifted him a lot more. The Vikings even offered him a new house in Minnesota, a new Mercedes-Benz car, clothes, and many other valuable assets. With Walker also getting that added to the deal it helped convince him and his wife Cindy to agree to the move and thus Walker became a Minnesota Vikings. I would have taken that deal in a heartbeat if that was added in the deal. They supply a new house, cars, a big bonus, and other goodies I mean green light. He would have been a fool if he said no to that kind of offer, but it makes me wonder, What If Walker said no to this deal?

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