Justin Jefferson: Warranted and Difficult

Justin Jefferson appears to
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The Minnesota Vikings employ the best wide receiver in the NFL. They also employ one of the top five players across the entire league. Both of those realities exist within the same person, Justin Jefferson. That makes his situation both warranted and difficult.

Justin Jefferson: Warranted and Difficult

Last offseason, the Minnesota Vikings began discussing a contract extension with Justin Jefferson. He still had two years left on his rookie deal, but there’s no denying that locking up a talent that good should be a focal point. The sides couldn’t find common ground and entered the year without signing the new paperwork.

Warranted and
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Entering the final year of his rookie contract, Jefferson is now likely to sign his mega-deal prior to the 2024 NFL season. On Thursday morning, ESPN Vikings correspondent Kevin Siefert wrote about the discussions, what to make of Jefferson’s comments, and what the hold-up may be. It all boils down to the wide receiver’s ask being both warranted and difficult.

First, he wants to get paid. Not only does he want to get paid, but he wants to get paid as more than just a wide receiver.

Topping Tyreek Hill’s deal is straightforward, and if that’s where things stood, this would be done. “I’m definitely aware of what I’ve been doing for the organization, what I’ve done ever since I’ve stepped foot on this NFL field. So, I’m definitely going to do what’s right by getting the amount that I feel like I’m valued. I definitely will keep in mind the different stats and where I am as a player and as a receiver. But I definitely would like and hope to be one of the highest-paid players and especially receivers.”

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Nothing within those parameters is problematic on the surface. While the Vikings ultimately dealt Randy Moss and Stefon Diggs, that doesn’t appear to be where this trend is. Minnesota wants to keep their superstar, which will ultimately amount to an unprecedented amount of money, guaranteed and otherwise.

The problematic aspect of the situation is that Jefferson has been so effective, partly because of solid quarterback play. Despite endorsing Kirk Cousins as a free-agent quarterback, it’s clear the Vikings veteran also cares most about his payday. Even coming off a severe injury, he isn’t interested in taking a discount, and he’ll go elsewhere if it means padding his bank account. By Jefferson accounting for substantially more than the wide receiver position traditionally has, he kneecaps the organization’s ability to pay a quarterback of edge rusher Danielle Hunter.

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As much as keeping Jefferson around has to be the goal, nailing who he is catching passes from is also a must. Should they go with all of the money towards the wide receiver position, then spending draft capital, now and in the future, may be necessary to grab their guy at the sport’s most important position. This offseason might hurt the pocketbook, but if Minnesota can pay their wideout and hit on the quarterback, everything else becomes the focus in the years ahead.

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.