Does This Thing Make Justin Jefferson Look Like a Diva?

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

When the Minnesota Vikings made Justin Jefferson their 22nd overall pick during the 2020 NFL Draft, they immediately guaranteed themselves one thing. Regardless of his performance, they would have the rights to his services for at least the next five years if they wanted. Now, going into year five, the sides remain at an impasse. Does he get hit with the diva tag because of it?

Does This Thing Make Justin Jefferson Look Like a Diva?

Looking through contracts, extensions, and free agent negotiations over the past handful of years (really across all sports), each new deal is about besting the last one signed. For premier players at each position, no one is going into their negotiations without the ammunition of what their contemporaries have agreed to. Just like Kirk Cousins before him (multiple times, but this offseason as well), Justin Jefferson is out to get paid.

justin jefferson
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The Minnesota Vikings wide receiver knows he is lightyears better than Amon-Ra St. Brown, who just became the NFL’s highest-paid wide receiver. He is better than Tyreek Hill, who previously held that designation. He’s also better than CeeDee Lamb, Ja’Marr Chase, and others looking to use his deal for leverage.

There is simply no way to sugarcoat it. Justin Jefferson is one of the 5-10 best players across the entire NFL at any position. For a wide receiver, that rarely happens. At a position that now has become a significant focal point for the league, the payday has to come.

Looking at a contract extension that will put him in Minnesota Vikings’ purple well into his prime, Jefferson should be angling towards a payday far surpassing what his position group has previously produced. It shouldn’t be outdone by anyone else this offseason, and maybe it should take a year or two beyond this for inflation to catch up. Looking at his numbers and the immediate production, it’s hard to argue against him having earned that.

Justin Jefferson insulted
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Then there’s the Minnesota Vikings. There is no way general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah is unaware of what Jefferson wants. The dollars have been made clear for some time now, and with free agency and the draft all but wrapped up, Minnesota’s brain trust is sitting on its last bits of financial flexibility while twiddling its thumbs.

Fans grew tired of former wideouts like Randy Moss and Stefon Diggs when they ultimately forced themselves out. It’s fair that wide receivers fighting for targets can take on diva personalities. Those previous examples displayed that at times throughout their careers (with Diggs providing a well-timed reminder just weeks ago). Jefferson is not that, and Minnesota allowing this path to continue does no good for anyone.

Jefferson Makes His
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports.

Minnesota should be ecstatic about selecting the right talent at 22 overall. Former general manager Rick Spielman handed Adofo-Mensah a gift, and doing anything but saying “thank you, how much” would be an egregious misstep. The Vikings allowing a calendar to dictate the future narrative around a fan-favorite rather than taking ownership of the situation could be costly, as feelings need to be mended.

Don’t allow the diva wide receiver misrepresentation to be tagged here. Understand that you’re dealing with a player larger than a single position.

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.