Vikings Keep Their Superstar in the Building Through 2024

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The 2023 draft will begin on April 27 and the Vikings will make some crucial picks for the future of the organization, especially the selection of the right player with the top pick, pick 23, or at another spot, if a trade is facilitated, will be an incredibly significant decision for the organization.

General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has already made some big decisions in his second offseason. He released Adam Thielen and Eric Kendricks and signed Byron Murphy and Marcus Davenport. The GM also didn’t extend the deal of Kirk Cousins, which is the beginning of the end of the QB’s tenure in Minnesota.

Vikings Keep Their Superstar in the Building Through 2024

Vikings Keep Their Star in the Building
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Two days before the draft, the Vikings made another huge move by picking up the fifth-year option of their superstar, Justin Jefferson. He is now under contract for two more seasons with the purple team. The move had to be made before May 1 and was a no-brainer.

The amount of money a player can make while playing under that option is defined by the latest CBA, or Collective Bargaining Agreement, and it takes into account a player’s success in previous years. Jefferson went to multiple Pro Bowls in the first three seasons of his career, so he gets the highest-level option and will make $19,743,000 in 2024.

While that is a lot of money, it is a bargain for a player of Jefferson’s level. It ranks him in the neighborhood of Brandin Cooks, Mike Williams, Amari Cooper, and Chris Godwin, they all make slightly more on average on their current deals.

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Minnesota will do everything to extend Jefferson’s contract but it won’t be easy as he’s in a position to request the highest salary of all wideouts and even all non-QBs in the NFL. The star has earned every dollar of that humungous salary. He is the reigning Offensive Player of the Year and received some MVP votes after an outstanding 2022 campaign. The list of accolades is long, despite his young career.

No player ever had more receiving yards in the first three seasons of his career. He easily broke the record previously held by Randy Moss. In addition, Jefferson set franchise records for receiving yards and receptions in a single season while leading the league in both categories in 2022. The former LSU star is the youngest player to ever do that in the same season, breaking a record that stood for 86 years.

Jefferson will most likely reset the receiver market. Tyreek Hill is the best-paid wideout in the league. Just last year, he signed a deal with the Dolphins that pays him $30 million a season. He is followed by Raiders receiver and former Vikings rival Davante Adams, who is earning $28 million a season.

The two WRs are 29 and 30 years old, and Jefferson is 23. He will have the top salary of all receivers soon. Defensive tackle Aaron Donald is making an average of $31,666,667 per season. He is the best-paid non-quarterback ever, and Jefferson might want to top that

Jefferson is special because he is racking up all of those numbers despite constantly facing double teams. The connection between him and his quarterback Cousins is impressive. It’ll be interesting to see if he can replicate that success with another passer.

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The Vikings will likely split up the duo for two reasons. Cousins will turn 35 and at some point, his decline will begin. In addition to that, once Jefferson is getting paid his huge bucks, the team has to make some savings, and a QB on a rookie contract is the perfect way to save money. It’s possible that the Vikings will draft Jefferson’s next quarterback on Thursday.

Adofo-Mensah could in theory exercise another fifth-year option. When he traded for Jalen Reagor, he inherited his rookie contract and with that the option. However, he recorded only 8 catches in 2022 with the Vikings for 104 yards and 1 touchdown. His option would be worth $12,987,000 and the Vikings will certainly not do that.

In the upcoming months, Adofo-Mensah will try to negotiate a long-term extension with his star player.

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