A New Wrinkle in Justin Jefferson’s Extension Talks

Vikings Arrange Meeting with Top Receiver Prospect
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The Minnesota Vikings extended tight end T.J. Hockenson’s contract one week ago, and most believed Justin Jefferson would be next.

Jefferson’s rookie contract expires in Minnesota after the 2024 season, but he is eligible now for a lucrative new deal.

A New Wrinkle in Justin Jefferson’s Extension Talks

And while Jefferson has acted carefree about his impending extension throughout the summer, he did acknowledge a new wrinkle Thursday, the start date of the NFL’s 2023 regular season.

A New Wrinkle
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“Of course, I would want a contract to be done. But at the end of the day, it is all up to them and what the ownership want to do with that,” Jefferson told reporters.

“Up to them” the Vikings front office is new verbiage from the reigning Offensive Player of the Year.

camp schedule
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Jefferson also claimed his extension talks are a bit unique because of otherworldly performance since joining the Vikings, which isn’t wrong. “I’m in a different situation. I’ve done something that no one has ever done in the history of the game. So my situation is a little bit different than everyone else’s. Of course, I’m going into my fourth year, trying to talk about contract two years early. There’s so many different parts that go in towards it. That’s why I leave it up to my agent and just keep my mindset on the field.”

The young wideout has tabulated more receiving yards through a player’s first three seasons than anyone in NFL history.

Overhauled Teams
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Jefferson’s new contract should arrive soon, though, according to The Athletic’s Dianna Russini. She wrote Tuesday, “Two weeks ago, when I was in Minnesota, I asked Justin Jefferson about the status of his deal. He had no updates for me, saying he, ‘doesn’t like to discuss his business.’ Fair. However, he did say it with a huge smile, probably because he knows this team has been motivated to get it done.”

The Vikings regular season begins Sunday at noon, and it is unclear if extension discussions would continue into September or get put on hold until February.

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Russini added, “Jefferson has practiced all of training camp, trusting the team will give him a contract that could make him the highest-paid non-QB player in the league. (I’m sure Bosa and Jones also hope to take the title.) Good news for Kirk Cousins, I learned there are no concerns that if a deal isn’t reached Jefferson would miss games. Based on my conversations, this is looking to be a contract that will be announced (and celebrated) very soon.”

General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah said in January, just two days after his club was prematurely bounced from the playoffs, that anything contract-related to Jefferson was champagne problems.

“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 replied when asked about the feasibility of a long-term deal.

He finished the response, “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.”

That was about eight months ago, and with Jefferson’s fourth season less than 72 hours away, he evidently feels the extension decision is solely in the Vikings court.

Jefferson’s extension is expected to tip the scales at $30-$35 million per season.

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,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.