Vikings: Insider Offers 1-Word of Advice on Justin Jefferson Contract Extension

Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings

Getty Justin Jefferson #18 of the Minnesota Vikings.

The Minnesota Vikings have crossed off many of the items on their offseason to-list. That includes finding their potential quarterback of the future in J.J. McCarthy. But McCarthy’s intended No. 1 target, Justin Jefferson, remains an elephant in the room.

Jefferson is tracking to play out his rookie contract on his fifth-year option.

There have been few signs of a deal getting done in the interim. But ESPN’s Dan Graziano is preaching “patience.”

“Interesting that right before the draft, a couple of deals went down – A.J. Brown, Amon-Ra St. Brown – that might sort of set the floor of the wide receiver extension market,” Graziano said on “NFL Live” on May 10. “But Jefferson’s the ceiling. His deal is going to surpass them all, and likely going to compete with Nick Bosa as the highest-paid non-quarterback in the league. So that deal will take time.

“I would preach patience on the Justin Jefferson deal.”

Jefferson, 24, is already a three-time Pro Bowler and one-time All-Pro with four straight 1,000-yard campaigns to start his career. His latest 1,000-yard effort came in just 10 games, half of which came without Kirk Cousins under center.

Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has spoken optimistically about the ongoing dialogue between the two sides.

But not everyone believes Adofo-Mensah is doing enough.

“Before the draft, the situation for the Vikings and star receiver Justin Jefferson was simple. Pay him, or trade him to someone who will,” Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio wrote on April 29. “Now that the trade window has closed (for now), the Vikings need to pay him.

“The price NEVER goes down. Whatever it would have been last September, when Jefferson supposedly rejected $30 million per year, it will be higher now. And it will keep going up.

“Stop the bleeding. Start the typing. Make it happen.”

Other Factors Potential Influencing Vikings’ Contract Negotiations With Justin Jefferson

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, Minnesota Vikings

GettyGeneral manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah of the Minnesota Vikings.

The Philadelphia Eagles signed Brown to a three-year, $96 million contract extension on April 25. That was one day after St. Brown received a four-year, $120 million extension from the Detroit Lions, making him the highest-paid wide receiver in annual value.

Jefferson has long been predicted to reset the market for his position. And former Vikings’ general manager Jeff Diamond predicted Bosa’s five-year, $170 million pact as a benchmark.

The Vikings could also be playing a part in the ongoing delay of what seems inevitable.

“There’s a number of reasons to believe it could take time,” Graziano said. “Obviously, it could happen at any minute. But there’s a number of reasons to think it might take until closer to the season. The Vikings have a policy with their signing bonuses where July 31 is kind of a key date, and they might want to wait until after that.”

Notably, June 1 is also a key date for several players who are potential candidates to have their contracts restructured or even cut.

Among the most notable are quarterbacks Nick Mullens and Jaren Hall.

Insider Points to Joe Burrow, Nick Bosa in Justin Jefferson Contract Talks

Joe Burrow, Nick Bosa, Minnesota Vikings

GettyJoe Burrow #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals and Nick Bosa #97 of the San Francisco 49ers.

There’s a good chance that Jefferson’s representation at CAA will press for the maximum in negotiations. Jefferson said he wants a big payday and has the track record to command it. His reps have also done similar business in recent years.

“You have to look at the agent. Brian Ayrault represents Justin Jefferson,” Graziano said. “Last year, he represented Joe Burrow and Nick Bosa. Burrow is now the highest-paid player in the league, Bosa the highest-paid non-quarterback in the league. And those deals got done pretty close to the start of the regular season.”

Bosa’s contract extension on September 8, two days before the start of the 2023 regular season. Burrow’s five-year, $275 million extension with the Cincinnati Bengals came on September 9.