This week is the 25th anniversary of the biggest trade that happened in the history of American football. On October 12, 25 years ago, running back Herschel Walker was traded to the Minnesota Vikings by the Dallas Cowboys. The Walker trade led to the success of the Dallas Cowboys in the early 1990s, which has made it widely considered as one of the five biggest trades in all of sports history.
The historic deal involved the Cowboys trading their talented running back to the Vikings, who reportedly believed that it needed Walker to start the team winning championships. Instead, the deal jumpstarted a hugely successful period for the Cowboys, who were able to select Emmitt Smith, Alvin Harper, Darren Woodson and others with the picks the Vikings provided to form a team that would get them to the Super Bowl by 1992.
— DCStarMagazine (@DCStarMagazine) October 13, 2014
According to The Viking Age, Vikings coach Mike Lynn had been wrong about the team’s needs and his expectations of Walker’s addition to it. “Walker was not a top-of-the-line dominating Walter Payton/Eric Dickerson running back but a complementary back, a good piece who needed other good pieces around him in order to be of value,” wrote Dan Zinski of The Viking Age. Apparently, Lynn did not notice “the yawning void at quarterback” as well as other key roles the Vikings needed to boost in order to improve their performance.
The Cowboys enjoyed great success in the Super Bowl as a result of the Walker trade, but things didn’t necessarily become peaceful for the team with its success. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and coach Jimmy Johnson have reportedly been feuding since the early ‘90s and are still arguing over who gets credit for the Walker trade 25 years after it happened.
Johnson reportedly claims he surprised Jones with the idea of trading Walker, while Jones counters that he had been toying with the idea before they ever started directly talking about it. Johnson eventually left the Cowboys with a $2 million severance check.