Payday Coming — But Justin Jefferson Focused

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Oct 2, 2022; London, United Kingdom; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings will find a boatload of money for Justin Jefferson. That much is certain. When it actually takes place is yet to be ironed out, but the wide receiver is more than locked in on the task at hand.

Payday Coming — But Justin Jefferson Focused

Coming off one of the most amazing seasons by a wide receiver in NFL history, Justin Jefferson put himself squarely in line for a massive payday. The former first-round pick challenged Calvin Johnson’s single-season yardage record for most of the year, and he helped lead a Vikings offense that looked to air the ball out.

Payday Coming
Jan 15, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) looks on during warmups before a wild card game against the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Jefferson will remain a focal point, with new head coach Kevin O’Connell being an offensive-minded leader and Kirk Cousins attempting to push the ball down the field. Gone are Dalvin Cook and Adam Thielen. Jordan Addison will attempt to take away some double coverage. The goal is to find additional opportunities for Jefferson to work.

Right now, work is exactly what he’s focused on.

Despite a desire to get an extension done, while training camp took place, Jefferson was in the building and working through practices with his teammates. His representation continued to work with general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah to find common ground, and that goal remains, but his pursuit of greatness never ceased.

Dec 20, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) looks on before the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

Across the NFL, players like Chris Jones, Josh Jacobs, and even teammate T.J. Hockenson stay off the field until their deals are done. Jefferson goes against the trend. He has continued to work and get his reps in, aiming to land the largest wide receiver contract in NFL history.

Jefferson definitely doesn’t shy away from flashy looks off the field, but he hasn’t brought the ego or personality so often negatively associated with that. Having been acquired through a draft pick tied to former wideout Stefon Diggs, the Vikings new number one couldn’t be further from the player he replaced.

At some point in the not-so-distant future, a deal will get done. Minnesota will not squander an opportunity to lock up the best player, not named Patrick Mahomes, across the entire NFL. What Jefferson brings to the table completely changes what an offense can do, and his abilities on the outside are unmatched. Both parties would probably like to see a deal done before the regular season kicks off, and that means time is ticking.

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Dec 25, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports.

Regardless of when the ink hits the paper, the reality is that Jefferson should be commended for continuing to go about his business despite what’s going on behind the scenes. He’s still on a rookie deal, and everyone involved knows it doesn’t have him adequately compensated. The sides will work on figuring that out; in the meantime, he can focus on torching the opposition.

Minnesota is better off because Justin Jefferson exists, and they’ll be best served to lock him up for the long haul.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.