EAGAN, Minn. -- In 2018, quarterback Kirk Cousins chose the Vikings over the New York Jets. Last March, linebacker Anthony Barr reneged on a commitment to join the Jets to re-sign with Minnesota.
Now, another player has revealed he spurned overtures by the Jets to remain with the Vikings.
After spending last season as a rookie on Minnesota’s practice squad, wide receiver Jeff Badet was courted in January by the Jets. But the Vikings were so intent to keep Badet that a source said they gave him a $75,000 signing bonus in addition to his $495,000 base salary on a futures deal to re-sign.
Badet acknowledged the Vikings “let out a little bit” of money to keep him from going to the Jets, although he wouldn’t discuss contract figures.
“The Jets were calling, so I was going to go there to the Jets,’’ Badet said. “It was between (the Jets and Vikings), but I wanted to be here, though.’’
Badet said he had worked out for the Jets before being undrafted in 2018 out of Oklahoma and he said they “kept an eye on’’ him last season.
“I’m a speed guy and they wanted somebody to take it over the top, somebody going in there to match what (Jets receiver) Robby Anderson was doing,’’ Badet said.
When the Vikings sweetened the pot, though, Badet stayed with them. He insists he’s a much better receiver than last season.
“Night and day,’’ Badet said. “My confidence level is up. I got a chance to go against (Minnesota defensive backs) Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes and (Mackensie Alexander) every day on the practice squad.
“Going into this year, I know what to expect. Last year, I didn’t know how the schedule is going, how to practice as a pro.’’
Badet last year was raw and often just tried to rely on his speed. Badet ran the 40-yard dash in 4.27 seconds in March 2018 at Oklahoma pro day and told the Pioneer Press after entering the NFL, “I know I’m the fastest guy on the Vikings.”
Badet is on the rookie minicamp roster but sat out Friday’s first practice with a tweaked groin. He wasn’t sure whether he would be able to participate in the final two days of the minicamp, but is at least expected back for the May 21 start of organized team activities.
The Vikings are looking for a No. 3 receiver behind Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs and the job is wide open. Could Badet be a serious candidate?
“To be honest, I don’t even look too much at stuff like that,’’ he said. “I’m just going to continue to play my game. My main focus right now is to just learn the offense so I can play to my speed, and if it just so happens that I am that No. 3 receiver, just be ready to know that I’ll be able to contribute.’’