Vikings Advised to Make the Obvious Move

General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah in August of 2022 at Minnesota Vikings headquarters in Eagan, Minnesota.

The most significant moves in the Vikings’ offseason were the signings of Byron Murphy and Marcus Davenport. Both will play huge roles in the defense — especially Murphy will be a crucial starter as the team’s top cornerback. Davenport must replace Za’Darius Smith, who was traded to the Cleveland Browns.

Vikings Advised to Make the Obvious Move

Vikings Advised
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Just as important was the appointment of defensive coordinator Brian Flores who is supposed to overhaul a horrible defensive unit that ranked second to last in yards allowed and 30th in points allowed. Jordan Addison was drafted in the first round. He will slide into the offensive lineup next to Justin Jefferson, the star wideout, and hopefully take some pressure off him. Jefferson is phenomenal, but he can only do so much if the defense fully focuses on him without getting punished.

The Vikings saved cap space by trading away Smith and releasing the two veterans and longtime members of the organization, Eric Kendricks and Adam Thielen. For that reason, they can use the remaining cap space of roughly $9 million to improve the roster. Offensive guard Dalton Risner comes to mind. That number could even rise to $18 million if they find a trade partner in the Dalvin Cook saga.

However, Bleacher Report’s David Kenyon advises the Vikings to go in a different direction and prioritize a move with a player under contract. It is a no-brainer.

Fired up a No
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Kenyon wants the Vikings to extend the contract of Justin Jefferson. That move is expected to happen at some point in the summer. Jefferson is under contract for a couple more seasons after the franchise picked up the fifth-year option that will pay him $19,743,000 in 2024. He would become an unrestricted free agent if the two parties couldn’t come to an agreement, but the Vikings would be unwise to let him leave the state.

Justin Jefferson is the league’s best receiver. Any questions? Seriously, it’s a straightforward topic. No matter where you personally rank Jefferson, he’s the kind of target an offense can build around. Minnesota should not enter the season without him on a long-term contract.

David Kenyon, Bleacher Report

Jefferson’s contract will be enormous, and nobody will care, and there is one reason. He is phenomenal. He is leading the league in receiving yards since he came into the league in 2020. He also led the league in receiving yards and receptions in the 2022 season, which subsequently led to him becoming the Offensive Player of the Year.

The top contract in the NFL among receivers belongs to Tyreek Hill, who is making $30 million a season from the Dolphins, followed by Davante Adams, who earns $28 million. Jefferson is arguably a better player, six and seven years younger than the two. He will and should reset the market.

Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

The NFL is a league that caps the dollars spent each year, and paying a receiver that kind of money will automatically hurt the team. Regardless, there is no way any team is better off without a great player like Jefferson. His big bucks wouldn’t count against the cap for another two seasons, so the team can still employ an expensive quarterback without going to cap hell, which is why extending the contract of QB Kirk Cousins is still possible. He and Jefferson formed an outstanding bond over the years.

Once Jefferson’s money kicks in, however, the team would be wise to have a cheaper passer under center, preferably a pretty good one who Kwesi Adofo-Mensah will have drafted in the near future. That guy will have an easier start to his career with a superstar like Jefferson on the roster. Extending Jefferson is a no-brainer. He is a one-of-a-kind talent, and the tenure of Adofo-Mensah will be judged by the future of his star wideout.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt