Justin Jefferson’s Response about His Next Contact Is the Stuff of Dreams
The Minnesota Vikings should consider Justin Jefferson an actual angel sent from God.
Foremost, his on-the-field performance is exemplary, leading the NFL in receiving yards (3,016) during the last two combined seasons. And those campaigns were his freshman and sophomore efforts — not bad.
The mythos of Jefferson grew on Wednesday when the 23-year-old talked about his next contract, which will hit the Vikings books in 2025. Jefferson told Chris Tomasson from the Pioneer Press, “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.”
Somewhere, Jefferson’s agent’s jaw scraped the earth, and Vikings fans realized a dream reply was uttered from the team’s superstar. You’d be hard-pressed to find any athlete — especially the best at his craft — say I’m not really too fond of money.
In perspective, that phrase is 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.
Of course, Jefferson will receive a massive contract, probably in March or April. His value by that time should be around $30-$35 million as the market continues to skyrocket. Wide receiver contracts soared during this offseason cycle — Jefferson’s time will be no different.
But at least the bottom floor for monetary discussions won’t be marred by Jefferson’s stubbornness. Onlookers didn’t believe that to be the case in the first place, but his eleemosynary comment to Tomasson confirmed the Vikings should have smooth negotiations when Jefferson is on the docket for his next deal.
Jefferson will also get an opportunity to shine even more in 2022 as the Vikings pivot to a new brand of offense. The LSU alumnus mentioned in June his excitement about Kevin O’Connell to NFL Network, “Our offensive style, it’s not a run-first offense anymore. Just us being able to put different people in different positions and distribute the ball. We’re just excited to start it up, really. We want to see how this season really turns out for us.”
Through his first two seasons, Jefferson is the most targeted player ever via pass attempts in the NFL. So, he hasn’t been neglected, even in Mike Zimmer’s run-first offense. Yet, as the NFL trends more toward pass-heaviness by the year, Jefferson can absolutely explode with a pass-first regime fostered by O’Connell.
Nineteen months ago, the media tried to paint Jefferson as someone who disliked his quarterback, Kirk Cousins. In a game versus the Chicago Bears, Jefferson was caught on a microphone chiding his quarterback for not throwing the ball at an appropriate time. Instead of realizing that football players yell on the field to teammates, various media entities tried to vilify Cousins for the play. Jefferson tweeted, “I ain’t a diva; don’t get it twisted,” to silence the nonexistent controversy.
He wasn’t kidding about the anti-diva temperament. “I’m not really too fond of money” is the most non-diva soundbite imaginable.
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).