Justin Jefferson Still Not Fixated on Dough

Justin Jefferson appears to
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Minnesota Vikings WR Justin Jefferson told reporters in July he wasn’t fond of money. And he’s not backing off the sentiment three months later.

Jefferson said to the Pioneer Press before the preseason began, “I’ll focus on contract after the season. Our main thing is reaching to that goal, but I’m not really too fond of money. I’m really just trying to get that goal of being the best receiver.”

The Vikings wideout leads the NFL in receiving yards through five weeks of 2022 with 547. Since entering the NFL in 2020, Jefferson also leads the league in the same metric.

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This week, Jefferson seemed to double down on his team-first approach, shooing to the side contract talks that should heat up in the spring. Reporters asked Jefferson on Thursday about Tyreek Hill’s sizable contract (the Vikings play against Hill and the Miami Dolphins on Sunday), and Jefferson toed the line for his brand by replying, “I’m happy for that type of receiver getting paid like that, but I’m just trying to win the Super Bowl at this point, and I’ll worry about the contract stuff after.”

When Jefferson does set his mind to money talk, he may fetch around $30 million per season, more aligned with NFL wide receivers of his caliber — if there is such a thing. It should be noted, too, that Jefferson’s next contract won’t kick in until 2025, which fascinatingly aligns with the expiration of Adam Thielen’s contract.

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Jefferson is cooking in 2022, an obvious benefactor of Kevin O’Connell’s arrival, who has genuinely effectuated “the Cooper Kupp” role from Jefferson that was theorized by fans and pundits all offseason. Through five games, Jefferson is the NFL’s second most-targeted receiver behind — you guessed it — Cooper Kupp.

In perspective, Jefferson’s “not fond of money” or “worry about contracts later” soundbites are the best possible string of words a general manager or anyone who enjoys the team could read. Why? Well, it means greed won’t be at the center of contract talks next spring, nor does it seem Jefferson wants to leave the Vikings.

Wide receiver contracts soared during the offseason, and Jefferson’s financial opportunity will soon be no different. Jefferson currently earns $3.28 million annually, an absolute steal of a deal on his rookie contract. And the bottom floor for contract talks won’t be tainted by Jefferson’s stubbornness. Onlookers didn’t believe that to be the case in the first place, but his glorious comments to the media have confirmed the Vikings should have smooth negotiations when Jefferson is on the docket for his next deal.

The Vikings take on Hill’s Dolphins in Miami on Sunday. Hill’s $30 million-per-year average salary is the most for a wide receiver leaguewide.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).