Justin Jefferson’s Lobbying for Division Rival QB Resurfaces in Clip

Justin Fields, Justin Jefferson

Getty Bears quarterback Justin FIelds and Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson.

Long before the Minnesota Vikings agreed to terms with Sam Darnold as their potential bridge replacement for Kirk Cousins, star receiver Justin Jefferson gave his endorsement of NFC North rival quarterback Justin Fields.

During a 2021 appearance on “The Herd” with Colin Cowherd, Jefferson called Fields “dominant,” saying he would bring pressure to opposing teams if he joined the Vikings. The clip has resurfaced in the wake of Cousins’ departure and Fields’ future in Chicago in jeopardy.

“We have to build on for after Kirk. Having Justin Fields brings a little more pressure to other teams by having a dominant quarterback — like he is,” Jefferson said back in 2021.

Fields, entering the final year of his four-year, $18 million rookie contract, figures to be phased out of the Chicago Bears‘ future with Chicago expected to take a quarterback No. 1 overall in this year’s draft.

Vikings WR Justin Jefferson’s Extension Talks Unchanged By Kirk Cousins’ Departure

Justin Jefferson, Vikings

GettyWide receiver Justin Jefferson of the Minnesota Vikings

The trade rumors surrounding Jefferson reignited when Cousins’ departure to Atlanta was confirmed this week, and although there isn’t an answer in Minnesota yet, the Vikings’ prospects of securing Jefferson long-term remain strong.

“The Vikings came close to extending WR Justin Jefferson last offseason,” The Athletic’s Dianna Russini reported on X (formerly Twitter) on March 12. “In Indy, GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah aggressively rejected the idea of trading the star. Kirk Cousins’ departure hasn’t changed things. The Vikings have no plans to trade Jefferson, sources tell me and @alec_lewis.”

As the NFL grows impatient with the ongoing contract talks involving the league’s top wide receiver, the Vikings typically have awarded extensions in June and could likely drag out negotiations until then.

That leaves Jefferson’s future in the air for at least several more months of speculation during the NFL offseason.

Justin Jefferson Turned Down $30 Million a Year Contract: Report

Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings

GettyJustin Jefferson #18 of the Minnesota Vikings.

The Vikings have worked to extend Jefferson since last offseason and came close ahead of the start of the 2023 season.

Adofo-Mensah said at this year’s combine that the Vikings came “unbelievably close” to reaching a deal with Jefferson but also noted that it’s rare for a non-quarterback to sign an extension before their fourth season.

“They have their reasons for waiting; we have our reasons for wanting to do it sooner. Ultimately, we got to come together and meet in the middle and figure out a way to best serve our purposes,” Adofo-Mensah said in a February 27 news conference.

On March 12, ESPN’s Adam Schefter revealed that the deal Jefferson declined was worth more than $30 million a year — the expected going rate for the league’s top wide receiver after Tyreek Hill broke the barrier with his deal in 2021.

“I think if the money’s right, he’s gonna sign an extension,” Schefter argued on “NFL Live.” “It wasn’t before the season when he turned down in excess of $30 million a year.

“And It becomes an organizational decision. And if you’re the Minnesota Vikings, are you gonna pay what it’s gonna take to make Justin Jefferson the highest-paid wide receiver in football? Do you wanna do that right now? Or, do you wanna say, … ‘As much as we love the player, as great as he is, maybe we’re better off starting from scratch here in terms of a quarterback.’ ”

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