Vikings’ Justin Jefferson Calls Out NFL During Playoff Game

Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings

Getty Justin Jefferson #18 of the Minnesota Vikings.

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson is outspoken.

So he naturally voiced his opinion on the NFL social media team’s decision to share a picture of a fan’s poster during the Detroit Lions’ Divisional Round matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on January 21.

The poster was a play on Lions head coach Dan Campbell’s comments about biting kneecaps as a euphemism for his team’s toughness during his introductory press conference in 2021.

But Jefferson did not see the humor in it, specifically coming from the league’s official handle.

“Yall wild for posting this,” The three-time Pro Bowler, Jefferson, said in a post on X, formerly Twitter during the second game of the day between the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs. “This ain’t cool!!”

Both the Vikings and Los Angeles Rams lost tight ends to injuries on hits by Lions safety Kerby Joseph. Officials flagged Joseph for a different hit against the Rams in the Wild Card round. But the league did not fine him for either injury-causing hit.

His teammates and coaches come to his defense amid allegations that he is a dirty player.

The Lions won their showdown against the Bucs and will face the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game on January 28.

T.J. Hockenson Facing Lengthy Recovery

T.J. Hockenson, Minnesota Vikings

GettyT.J. Hockenson #87 of the Minnesota Vikings.

“I just absolutely love T.J. [Hockenson] and love what he is to our organization,” Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell told reporters on December 26. “Unfortunately for T.J., he’s you know going to be on the road to recovery, and I know he’ll attack that with all the resources we have in this building.

Hockenson suffered multiple torn ligaments on the hit, putting his availability for the 2024 campaign in question.

“T.J. Hockenson is done for the season, and potentially for at least part of 2024, after he suffered a torn ACL and MCL during Sunday’s game,” CBS Sports’ Chris Towers wrote on December 27.

“The injury will require surgery, and typically carries a 9-12 month recovery window.”
“Knowing T.J., the type of player he is, I’m absolutely looking forward to when we can get him back rolling and ready to have a great 2024 season,” O’Connell said.

Hockenson finished the season with career highs of 960 receiving yards on 90 receptions, adding five touchdowns. He is starting a four-year, $66 million contract extension next season and will count for $14-plus million against the cap.

Justin Jefferson’s Contract Situation Looms Over Vikings

Hockenson is under contract for the foreseeable future. But Jefferson’s future has been less clear. The wide receiver is in line for a hefty payday after a historic first four NFL seasons. And he has spoken confidently about the entire situation.

“Of course, I will want a contract to be done. But uh at the end of the day, it’s all up to them and what the ownership want to do with that,” Jefferson told the media on September 7. “That’s up to them. My focus is on playing football and doing something that I’m good at. So, I’m good at being on that field and catching the football, and that’s what I continue to do.”

Pioneer Press columnist Charley Walters made a case for the Vikings to trade Jefferson. He argued the Vikings’ uncertainty at quarterback and Jefferson’s looming payday in his argument.

But Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah was optimistic about negotiations.

“I’m always optimistic about those things,” Adofo-Mensah said during his end-of-season availability. “Obviously, we have to address that and a bunch of other things, but I’m looking forward to those conversations.”