Justin Jefferson Weighs In on Vikings Longterm QB Decision

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I just work here.

That’s the paraphrased takeaway from Justin Jefferson’s musings about the Minnesota Vikings’ longterm quarterback decision, a topic that will be front and center as early as one week from now.

Justin Jefferson Weighs In on Vikings Longterm QB Decision

In February or March, the Vikings must decide to re-sign Kirk Cousins or let him walk via free agency. The 35-year-old tore his Achilles at the end of October, causing a total quarterback carousel in Minnesota that appears headed toward a playoff-less season. Minnesota could re-up with Cousins for another year or two, use high-round draft capital to draft a rookie passer, or do both.

Vikings Longterm QB
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Left up to Jefferson, though, he’d love to have Cousins back but won’t bemoan the next guy. Jefferson is basically all smiles, a steady Eddie about Minnesota’s eventual quarterback verdict.

“It’s not really in my control. I’m confident they’re going to make the right decision up there (front office). If it’s Kirk, perfect. If it’s whoever they choose, it’s not my decision,” Jefferson told reporters on Wednesday, four days before the Vikings play their final regular season game of 2023 at the Detroit Lions.

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Jefferson missed seven games in 2023 with a hamstring injury, and the franchise was curiously 5-2 without his services and 2-7 with him in the lineup.

Jefferson added, “I’m always going to continue to just be myself regardless and just play my best ball whenever I’m out there on the field.”

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Cousins and Jefferson habitually enjoyed undeniable chemistry, so much so that Jefferson won the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year award in 2022. He was also tentatively on pace to defend his award in 2023 before the injury and subsequent quarterback round-robin involving Joshua Dobbs, Nick Mullens, and Jaren Hall.

Meanwhile, Jefferson, too, has an impending contract matter, not unlike Cousins. The Vikings brass and Jefferson’s representation couldn’t finalize an extension last summer, putting talks off until the offseason, which will likely arrive next week. Between now and the start of the 2024 regular season, Jefferson is expected to sign an extension, making him the wealthiest wide receiver in NFL history.

Why Has the Vikings Pass Defense Faltered Lately?
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The man throwing him the pigskin is up in the air, however. Cousins was well on his way to tabulating a best-ever season before the Achilles injury, on pace for 5,000 passing yards, 38 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. And every step of the way since the injury, Minnesota’s coaching staff and front office have expressed a desire to bring Cousins back in 2024 and beyond.

The good news? Jefferson will be content with the quarterback decision regardless. His job is to catch the ball from whoever, according to him.

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.