Vikings Signed on for 5 More Years of Greatness

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

The news finally dropped — the deal everyone with an interest in the Minnesota Vikings was waiting for, including the whole NFL. On Monday morning, Justin Jefferson finally got his huge payday as the Vikings signed on for five more years of greatness. Everyone of a Viking purple persuasion rejoiced.

Vikings Signed on for 5 More Years of Greatness

Jefferson signed a four-year, $140 million contract extension that includes $110 million guaranteed. This makes him not only the highest-paid WR in NFL history but also the highest-paid non-QB in NFL history. The deal consists of $88.743 million due at signing, making Jefferson the highest-paid non-QB at signing in NFL history. 

As the league has become more passing-focused, the value of the wide receiver is on the rise. Before Jefferson set the bar with this $35 million-a-year contract, AJ Brown, Tyreek Hill, and Amon-Ra St. Brown were already at  $30+ million, and there will be more to follow ⸺ notably Ceedee Lamb and Ja’Marr Chase. Jefferson is worth every cent to the Vikings, but if there’s any doubt, his resume through four seasons speaks for itself.

The Story So Far

Justin Jefferson
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Jefferson’s stats across his first four seasons are incredible. In 60 games, he has 392 catches from 576 targets for 5899 yards and 30 touchdowns. The accolades and records rolled in from the very beginning: 3x All-Pro, 3x Pro Bowl, All-Rookie team, 2022 receptions leader, receiving yards leader, and the big one — offensive player of the year. He broke the rookie receiving yards record and has the record for each year in his career — he needs 886 yards to continue that streak into Year 5.

Jefferson is a phenomenon already on course for the Hall of Fame, but it’s not just on the field that Jefferson is so important to Minnesota. He is already the face of the franchise. He got his mega-deal without a huge amount of drama, of course. Media types tried to whip up a storm, but there was no sulking, no cryptic tweets, no demanding a trade, no holding out of mandatory work. Jefferson knew what he was worth and waited for the Vikings to deliver.

The Future

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Jefferson’s new deal aligns with the rookie contract of new Vikings quarterback JJ McCarthy. Christian Darrisaw should get an extension next year. With TJ Hockenson signed on long-term and Jordan Addison only one year into his rookie deal, the Vikings have the nucleus of an offense they hope can bring success in the long term.

When McCarthy will be ready to take his place in that offense is unclear, and I would expect Sam Darnold to start the season as the Vikings’ quarterback. Whether it’s Darnold or McCarthy this season, there’s plenty to work with on the Vikings’ offense, with Jefferson leading the way.

Jefferson has had the dependable Kirk Cousins throwing him the ball for the majority of his career. Darnold hasn’t shown that level of consistency since arriving in the league in 2018, and McCarthy is an unknown at this level. However, Jefferson proved last season that the quarterback didn’t matter, with a couple of huge games at the back end of the season.

He also knows the importance of his role in developing the Vikings’ rookie quarterback, not only for the continuation of his own personal success but also for the team success that has so far alluded to Jefferson and that he craves so much.

Jefferson was aiming to be the first WR to break 2000 receiving yards in 2023. He started the season on fire the first three weeks, but his hamstring injury ended that hope. You can be sure he will be gunning for that record again this year, whoever is throwing him the ball. Jefferson has been a delight to watch through four seasons. It promises to be an absolute delight to see him continue flourishing in Vikings purple for the foreseeable future.