They are aiming for an orbital flight by June 2019.
The MVac will have too high TWR and have flow separation at sea level. It will practice and testthe reentry regime. Elon said it won't land propulsively for those reasons.
Mini-BFS will have an ultra-light heat shield and high Mach control surfaces. Those are things that SpaceX cannot test well without orbital entry. SpaceX has confidence in propulsive landings.
I doubt NBF is drawing the right conclusion here.
The headline reads, "SpaceX Mini-BFS will make fully reusable Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy in 2019."
But Musk has said that SpaceX doesn't need more experience with reusable landings right now. What they need is experience with control surfaces and heat protection during orbital reentries.