The Latest Justin Jefferson Update Isn’t Surprising

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The Minnesota Vikings entered the season with monumental questions about the organization’s future. Through most of the offseason, primarily the draft and free agency, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has answered some of those, especially by drafting J.J. McCarthy in the first round to be the team’s long-term quarterback solution.

The Latest Justin Jefferson Update Isn’t Surprising

The Latest Justin Jefferson Update Isn't Surprising
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

However, one element on his to-do list remains unfulfilled. Star wideout Justin Jefferson is still waiting for his new contract, including the subsequent pay raise after four years of excellence.

Most players returned to the TCO Performace Center in Eagan, Minnesota, on Monday. However, one person has not shown up: Jefferson, the three-time Pro Bowler.

Adam Schefter tweeted on Monday afternoon: “WR Justin Jefferson, who has been in talks with the Vikings regarding a contract extension, was not spotted at the team’s training facility today for the start of organized team activities, per team sources.”

3 Vikings Developments
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Organized team activities are not mandatory. Therefore, the 24-year-old has not broken any rules and can be fined by the organization. He did the same last year but returned for every mandatory workout session.

It remains to be seen how the next few months will unfold, as the former LSU standout has every right to be upset about not receiving a well-deserved contract extension. However, he has been team-friendly and relaxed in interviews and press conferences.

The Vikings and Jefferson have been vocal about wanting to continue their work relationship, but a deal hasn’t been signed. Last year, just before the season began, Jefferson set a deadline, and the parties couldn’t come to an agreement, although they reportedly were close.

new qb
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

A significant downside of missing this year’s workouts is that he can’t build a connection with his new quarterbacks, Sam Darnold and McCarthy. Having that rapport with Kirk Cousins has paid off in recent years, as Jefferson has set various records. He also set the league’s high and franchise records in receptions and receiving yards 1,809 in 2022, subsequently winning the Offensive Player of the Year trophy.

In the last campaign, Jefferson missed games for the first time in his durable career, but he still eclipsed 1,000 yards despite only playing in ten games (he was also knocked out early versus the Las Vegas Raiders).

Regardless of the offseason, the Vikings need their wideout on the field come Week 1—tight end T.J. Hockenson could miss time in the first half of the season, and having the superstar on the field is crucial for the offense.

Trade Theory Goes
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The highest-paid receivers per season in the NFL are A.J. Brown ($32 million), Amon-Ra St. Brown and Tyreek Hill ($30 million), and Davante Adams ($28 million). Jefferson’s salary should top those deals on paper, as he is as productive as anyone in the NFL and is only 24 years old.

In all likelihood, the club and players will come to an agreement at some point in the offseason. Until then, it remains a slightly annoying process for fans, who fear losing their star wideout via trade. That is still unlikely, considering everything said in the last 12 months, but it can’t be ruled out until a new deal is signed.

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