Former NFL Coach Claims Justin Jefferson Will Damage the Vikings

One Shiny Silver Lining
Oct 16, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Mandatory Credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports.

Justin Jefferson’s eventual contract extension feels like a no-brainer for Minnesota Vikings fans, coaches, and executives.

But some remain unconvinced the man is worth it.

Former NFL Coach Claims Justin Jefferson Will Damage the Vikings

One such personality is former NFL coach Marty Mornhinweg, a head coach for the Detroit Lions in the 2000s and a Super Bowl-winning quarterback coach with the Green Bay Packers and Brett Favre in 1996. He doesn’t think the lemon is worth the squeeze on Jefferson.

Jefferson Will Damage
Sep 9, 2018; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg speaks with the offensive line during the fourth quarter against the Buffalo Bills at M&T Bank Stadium. Baltimore Ravens defeated Buffalo Bills 47-3. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports.

Mornhinweg was most recently an offensive consultant for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2020 and offensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens before that (2016-2018). Left up to him — the decision is not — he isn’t high on paying a wide receiver a chunky bag of gold.

Now an analyst for The 33rd Team, Mornhinweg explained this week, “It looks as if the Vikings are going to have to pay Justin Jefferson as much, or maybe even more, than a heck of a quarterback in the National Football League. Is this a good thing, or is this a bad thing? I’ll tell you the negatives. It’ll put a knife right into the salary cap.”

Jefferson is the NFL’s reigning Offensive Player of the Year and is projected by oddsmakers to win the award again in 2023.

Vikings Little Movie
Feb 9, 2023; Phoenix, Arizona, US; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson poses for a photo after receiving the award for AP Offensive Player during the NFL Honors award show at Symphony Hall. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The former skipper insisted Jefferson’s would-be contract could hurt the Vikings, “You’re going to have to let some pretty good players go to get this thing done. It’s going to damage the core of your football team if you go about it that way.”

Jefferson also ranks tops in NFL history for receiving yards in a player’s first three seasons and holds Vikings single-season team records in receptions and receiving yards. The man has taken the franchise and NFL by storm.

Justin Jefferson Can Still
Dec 17, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) makes a catch for a touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts during the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

“The only way you pay Justin Jefferson as much or more than a quarterback is if you know Justin Jefferson is the one player that you need on your football team to go win a Super Bowl. Period,” Mornhinweg finished.

It is unclear what the Vikings should do with Jefferson, per Mornhinweg, if not extend him. Perhaps ride out his rookie contract and let him walk away via free agency?

The 'Other' Important Race for Justin Jefferson
Nov 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) warms up before the game against the New England Patriots at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

The 23-year-old is likely mere days — perhaps hours — away from receiving the gigantic contract extension from the Vikings, but file Mornhinweg in the camp that warned against it.

During Mornhinweg’s heyday, receivers fetched nowhere near ‘quarterback money,’ so perhaps the modern ways of football are difficult to stomach for an old-school football coach.

Mornhinweg is the first notable voice to advise against the Jefferson extension.

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.

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