Trades like this don’t happen anymore.
On this date 27 years ago, the Dallas Cowboys changed the future of the franchise in a massive trade with the Minnesota Vikings.
Dallas was 0-4 to start the 1989 season, arguably the worst team in the NFL, and decided to trade its best player, Herschel Walker, and four draft picks for a king’s ransom from the Minnesota Vikings.
The trade, sometimes described as “The Great Trade Robbery,” remains the largest player trade in NFL history. A total of 18 players and draft picks were involved.
The Cowboys used the draft picks to fill their roster with young talent. Thanks to the trade, the foundation was set for the dynasty of the early 1990s and the Cowboys won three Super Bowls in a span of four seasons.
Just take a look at what this deal included:
Players/Draft Picks Received by the Minnesota Vikings
RB Herschel Walker
Dallas’s 3rd round pick – 1990 (54) (Mike Jones)
Dallas’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)
Players/Draft Picks Received by the Dallas Cowboys
LB Jesse Solomon
LB David Howard
CB Issiac Holt
RB Darrin Nelson (traded to San Diego after he refused to report to Dallas)
DE Alex Stewart
Minnesota’s 1st round pick in 1990 (21) (traded this pick along with pick (81) for pick (17) from Pittsburgh to draft Emmitt Smith)
Minnesota’s 2nd round pick in 1990 (47) (Alexander Wright)
Minnesota’s 6th round pick in 1990 (158) (traded to New Orleans, who drafted James Williams)
Minnesota’s 1st round pick in 1991 (conditional) – (12) (Alvin Harper)
Minnesota’s 2nd round pick in 1991 (conditional) – (38) (Dixon Edwards)
Minnesota’s 2nd round pick in 1992 (conditional) – (37) (Darren Woodson)
Minnesota’s 3rd round pick in 1992 (conditional) – (71) (traded to New England, who drafted Kevin Turner)
Minnesota’s 1st round pick in 1993 (conditional) – (13) (traded to Philadelphia Eagles, and then to the Houston Oilers, who drafted Brad Hopkins)