Vikings GM Talks about Justin Jefferson’s Extension

15 Injury Report
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General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah was in the spotlight on Tuesday’s trade deadline after his starting quarterback Kirk Cousins suffered a torn Achilles tendon on Sunday, prematurely ending his 2023 season. Rookie Jaren Hall was the only active quarterback on the 53-man roster, with backup Nick Mullens having to wait another week on IR, so he had to acquire another passer.

Vikings GM Talks about Justin Jefferson’s Extension

He and head coach Kevin O’Connell chose to add Joshua Dobbs to the roster for the costs of a late-round pick swap. Hall will start on Sunday, but Dobbs is a strong candidate to take over sooner rather than later unless Hall plays well. The former BYU passer has some excellent weapons to throw to, but All-Pro Justin Jefferson will miss at least one more game on IR with his hamstring injury.

Vikings GM Talks About Justin Jefferson's Extension
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Jefferson was an important personality over the summer as he became eligible for a contract extension, and his performances in the first three seasons certainly warranted a huge deal. But the two parties, the Vikings and their superstar player, couldn’t come to an agreement. GM Adofo-Mensah spoke about the situation on Wednesday:

There’s a reason why (extensions) don’t normally get done two years early. And I’ll kind of leave it at that. You can look at salary cap and contracts and this and new money and all that stuff. There are just reasons why it’s harder to do at that period of time. But, the dialogue was always super positive. We think he’s the best receiver in the league. We want him to be a Viking for a long time. I think that’s how you start, and we’ll figure out the rest.

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah

The good news is that there was no pressure to get anything done this offseason, as Jefferson is under contract for two more seasons, and the Vikes could use the franchise tag if they can’t find a solution. There is no reason to think Jefferson will leave the Vikings anytime soon.

Expectations for
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And Adofo-Mensah is certainly right. It is harder to extend a contract that early. The team looks at the current wideout market and thinks about a fair number, while Jefferson’s camp can look at the market’s potential in a year or two, wanting a totally different salary than what was offered.

There is also the problem of how much of the deal is guaranteed. Nothing can be planned a year in advance, in a business that changes weekly, the Vikings realized that when Cousins got hurt. Will Jefferson be healthy and still play at an elite level when his new money kicks in? Another issue that has to be solved is the contract length.

There are simply many variables to be determined to get a deal done with a couple of years left on his current deal. Both sides, the Vikings and Jefferson, have always emphasized how positive the talks were.

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Undeniably, Jefferson deserves to be paid a huge amount of money. He has been the most productive receiver in the NFL since he was drafted in 2020, despite missing the last three games. No player has recorded more receiving yards in the first three career seasons, and nobody has logged more yards before turning 24.

Jefferson will miss Sunday’s meeting with the Atlanta Falcons but is eligible to return one week later when the Vikings face the New Orleans Saints.

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