Why Is a Justin Jefferson Trade Dumb? Just Listen to His Boss.

3 Outlandish
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports.

For some reason, multiple outlets have spread the idea of a Justin Jefferson trade. The Vikings have traded star players before–especially receivers. Stefon Diggs, Randy Moss, and Percy Harvin departed from the organization via trade. In theory, no player is untouchable, but the 24-year-old surely is; at least, the general manager has said so.

Why Is a Justin Jefferson Trade Dumb? Just Listen to His Boss.

Even within the league, trading star receivers is not an outlandish concept. Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill changed teams in 2022. However, the main difference between them and Jefferson is that they were closing in on 30 years and wanted out.

Why a Justin Jefferson Trade Is Dumb? Just Listen to his Boss.
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Meanwhile, Jefferson has always been vocal about his intention to stay in Minnesota and build something special here rather than join a different franchise. But at the end of the day, the NFL is a business, and both parties, the Vikings and the receiver, must put themselves in a position to thrive.

The former LSU standout has been eligible for a contract extension since last year, but GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Jefferson’s camp couldn’t reach an agreement before the season kicked off, which was their set deadline for a deal. New conversations were postponed to the 2024 offseason.

Road Map
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

And here we are, in that offseason, he is suddenly supposed to be traded. But not so fast. Adofo-Mensah’s words about his star player have been very clear. Here is what he said roughly 11 months ago:

I said it earlier, I don’t want to be the Vikings GM without that guy on our team, so it’s a high priority. We gotta make sure that we do it in the order that we can do it in given all our other decisions we have to make.

He’s trying to put the Minnesota Vikings on his back and he wants to win a championship. When you have people like that in your building, try everything you can to not let them out.

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

It can’t get any clearer than that; nothing has changed since then. Jefferson is still one of the best players in football, so Adofo-Mensah will try to keep him. This is what Adofo-Mensah told reporters in November about the paused negotiations:

There’s a reason they don’t normally get done two years early, and I’ll kind of leave it at that. You can look at salary caps and contracts and new money and all that stuff.

The dialogue was always super positive. We think he’s the best receiver in the league, and we want him to be a Viking for a long time. I think that’s how we start. We’ll figure out the rest.

He’s right. Rarely do these deals get done after three seasons when there is a fifth-year option. Franchise QBs are the one outlier. Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert signed massive extensions. There was never any pressure when it came to Jefferson, as all involved parties have always wanted to continue working together.

Opponents in 2024
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Then, after the 2023 season had ended, Adofo-Mensah sat down with head coach Kevin O’Connell, and the duo answered a bunch of questions, including those about Jefferson’s contract:

I had a great dialogue with his representation this morning. We catch up, obviously I stay in contact with all of our players’ representatives, but we have a great, great relationship, and the good part is we have a shared history now. We did a lot of the work last season, so we talked and said, ‘Let’s plan to talk again soon.’ I’m always optimistic about those things. Obviously, we have to address that and a bunch of other things, but I’m looking forward to those conversations.

Only Week 6
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports.

There’s not a single word that would indicate a divorce in the next few months. As much as general managers usually try to hide their intentions, Adofo-Mensah is doing the opposite in this case, and his words are straightforward. He emphasized multiple times in the last year alone that Jefferson is in the organization’s future plans.

Through four seasons, Jefferson has been the most productive player in NFL history and continues to be a true professional off the field. If there was ever a true franchise player outside of the quarterback position, it is that guy. And he will be a Viking regardless of dumb trade ideas.

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