The Vikings Fired up a No-Brainer on Tuesday

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins and wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Week 1 of 2022 at U.S. Bank Stadium versus the Green Bay Packers. The Vikings won 23-1 to kickoff the Kevin O'Connell Era in Minnesota.

Via perhaps the most predictable maneuver of the offseason, Minnesota Vikings face-of-franchise star Justin Jefferson is staying put — for at least two more seasons.

The Vikings scooped Jefferson from the 1st Round of the 2020 NFL Draft, and the team had a “decision” whether to exercise his fifth-year contractual option this spring. They did it.

Fired up a No
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NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted Tuesday, “The Vikings have officially exercised the fifth-year option for star WR Justin Jefferson, source said, perhaps the biggest no-brainer on earth (only slight hyperbole).”

The Vikings Fired up a No-Brainer on Tuesday

The no-brainer fifth-year option will cost Minnesota $19.74 million in 2024, the final year of Jefferson’s rookie deal. In the meantime, the Vikings front office and Jefferson’s camp are working toward a long-term extension.

Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

At a press conference in January, Adofo-Mensah was asked if retaining Jefferson would be a challenge. The young executive smiled and said, “I wouldn’t use the word challenge. You got a special player, a special person. Those aren’t problems. Or at least those are champagne problems.”

Adofo-Mensah added about Jefferson’s upcoming extension three months ago, “So, we’ll start there. We’ve had initial dialogue with him, his agent. All those things we get back to that in the planning, but again it really starts from the player, the person, and we’ll work on solutions from there on.”

The Vikings Can Afford
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Some Vikings fans expected Jefferson to sign the extension by now, but it’s evidently a post-draft objective. He’s expected to set the NFL record for the largest contract in history by a wide receiver, probably fetching between $30 and $35 million per season. Throughout the entire offseason, all sides have affirmed Jefferson’s long-term commitment to the Vikings, including Jefferson.

According to the 23-year-old, he has no plan to venture elsewhere, telling reporters after his team’s playoff loss to the New York Giants, “I will be wherever I’m wanted. If they want me here, I’m here.”

For most of the 2022 season, Jefferson pursued 2,000 receiving yards as an attainable goal, set the Vikings single-season record for receiving yards, the record for receptions, and has shattered every WR “through first three seasons” and “through xx games of career” marks. The man is mind-boggling.

Justin Jefferson Quietly
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Plus, if 2022 was a reasonable indicator, Minnesota will need every drop of Jefferson to be successful. During games where the man was neutralized by double or triple coverage, the Vikings offense usually floundered — and the team lost. When Jefferson torched opponents, the Vikings won.

Interestingly, Jefferson expressed humility about money last summer. He told 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.”

Next up for the Vikings? The NFL draft — in two days.

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 Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

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