Justin Jefferson Is in the Loop

Justin Jefferson Trolls Saints Marshon Lattimore
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In 24 days, the Minnesota Vikings will probably decide on a quarterback of the future, replacing Kirk Cousins after six seasons.

Justin Jefferson Is in the Loop

Cousins left Minnesota for the lure of money in Atlanta — that’s his modus operandi — and will hope to guide the Falcons toward their first playoff appearance since 2017. Meanwhile, all signs point to a quarterback for Minnesota in the draft, though the club may need an extra trade up the board after pulling off a fancy swap 2.5 weeks ago, sending two 2nd-Round picks to Houston for the Texans’ 2024 1st-Rounder (Pick No. 23) and a late-round pick swap.

Justin Jefferson
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And according to head coach Kevin O’Connell, superstar wide receiver Justin Jefferson is in the loop regarding the team’s quarterback plans. The Vikings’ front office and Jefferson’s representation have attempted to nail down a long-term contract extension for over a year, and the working theory suggests Jefferson may be waiting to see Minnesota’s quarterback plan unfold.

Per O’Connell, Jefferson has a voice. “I think it’s important, as impactful as Justin is, not only on our offense, our organization — it makes no sense for me to talk about the communication and the relationships I’ve built with all of our players and then not at least engage with our guys throughout this process,” O’Connell said last week.

Vikings Can Buy
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Jefferson’s next contract is expected to fetch north of $30 million per season, probably setting a record among wide receivers and perhaps making the playmaker the highest-paid non-quarterback in NFL history.

O’Connell added about Jefferson’s role in choosing a quarterback, “Because you don’t want them to feel like they’re not involved and they’re just showing up to whatever team we’ve put together. I think the important part is Justin feels like a part of the process, engaging with us, engaging with me, and he’s aware of not only our short term, but our long term part of our plans for our organization. Why? Because he’s part of both of those things as well. Excited to continue that with him throughout this offseason.”

Vikings Not in Top
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The young skipper also said about Jefferson’s incoming extension, “Justin’s a major, major priority for the Minnesota Vikings because of what he means to me as the head coach, the play caller. But also our fanbase, the Twin Cities. The impact he’s really had on our league is really not lost on me for one moment.”

“We absolutely wanted to and continue to want to get something done,” O’Connell told reporters.

The Vikings quarterback choice has narrowed to three men especially and perhaps five more broadly. Via oddsmakers, Minnesota is likely to land J.J. McCarthy (Michigan), Drake Maye (North Carolina), or Jayden Daniels (LSU) in the draft, which begins on April 25th. Theoretically, if the Vikings swing and miss on those three, Michael Penix Jr. (Washington) and Bo Nix (Oregon) could be contingency plans.

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Minnesota hasn’t drafted a rookie quarterback in Rounds 1 or 2 since Teddy Bridgewater 10 years ago and has never used Top 10 draft capital on a quarterback. With Jefferson’s input, plus a need to get with the times after Cousins’ exodus, that might change later this month.

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.