Vikings Urged to Make the Obvious Move

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Minnesota Vikings
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Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has an extensive to-do list in the upcoming months. With quarterback Kirk Cousins and pass-rusher Danielle Hunter in their final days under contract, he must find a way to extend their deals in the next five weeks or replace the stars. Those two players certainly shape Minnesota’s offseason in one way or another.

Vikings Urged to Make the Obvious Move

Vikings Urged to Make the Obvious Move
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Adofo-Mensah has some cap space to work with for the first time in his tenure, and re-signing those two Pro Bowl-caliber players could even increase his breathing room under the cap as their ominous dead cap hits could be spread out into future years.

Also pretty important is the pending contract extension of superstar receiver Justin Jefferson. Just like Hunter and Cousins, his potential deal would likely lower the cap hit in 2024 if the GM pays him a hefty signing bonus, and he most likely will.

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Making the former LSU standout the highest-paid receiver in the NFL is the one move Kevin Patra from NFL.com advises the Vikings to make:

I understand GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah takes a measured approach to his team building, but inevitably, Jefferson is getting paid. The longer the team waits, the more costly the contract will become. Jefferson is worthy of being the highest-paid wideout in the NFL. The man had nearly 1,100 receiving yards this past season despite missing seven games. He made Nick Mullens look serviceable, for Pete’s sake.

The 24-year-old should easily soar past Tyreek Hill’s $30 million-per-year deal. (If the Vikings can get him to sign for anything less than top-paid non-QB, they should rush to do so.) Minnesota can structure the deal to lower the wideout’s 2024 cap hit ($19.743 million) to open more room this year to spend on a quarterback (Kirk Cousins) or numerous defensive free agents. This feels like one of those situations where playing it year to year with the fifth-year option and franchise tags will only make things more expensive in the long run (and in the meantime, clog the Vikings’ flexibility).

Kevin Patra, NFL.com

All he said was completely right. Jefferson, to start with the obvious, has earned a new contract. He is the offense’s focal point and why the Vikings have a somewhat dynamic unit. Even with Nick Mullens under center, they produced 400 yards and 24 points in their sleep. In fact, besides the turnovers, it looked like Cousins was still there. And JJ was the reason.

Opponents in 2024
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He is the ultimate bailout guy. If nobody is open and the play breaks down, a passer can just chuck it into his vicinity. Inaccurate passes don’t matter, and he will likely still make the play if humanly possible.

Through four seasons, he is the most productive player ever from a yards standpoint, and at age 24, there is no reason to believe he can’t continue to play at an All-Pro level.

Tyreek Hill is the NFL’s top-paid wideout, but Jefferson is younger and just as good. He should eclipse those $30 million per season. The league’s highest-paid non-quarterback is Nick Bosa, who signed for an annual salary of $34 million. Jefferson’s contract will usurp Hill on the receiver list and possibly Bosa on the non-QB index.

Mullens Not
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Jefferson’s recent comments raised some eyebrows: “I want to break the bank and I want to be a part of an organization that wants me and really gives me what I deserve. I feel like eventually, the Vikings will do what they need to do to have me in the building but I don’t really know at this moment. Only time will tell. I feel like I have the right people in my circle to negotiate and to do what’s right and I feel like this whole process of how we handle things, I feel like we did a great job with it.”

It is quite possible the conclusion won’t come before training camp arrives, and the star’s contract remains a large item on Adofo-Mensah’s to-do list all offseason.


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

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