Vikings’ 10-TD Playmaker’s Future in Doubt Due to Jefferson’s New Contract

Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings

Getty Justin Jefferson #18 of the Minnesota Vikings.

The moment the Minnesota Vikings sign Justin Jefferson to the largest wide receiver contract in NFL history, Jordan Addison‘s future in Minnesota will be questionable at best.

That’s the harsh reality former Seattle Seahawks general manager Randy Mueller shed light on due to the wide receiver market skyrocketing over the past three seasons.

“Jefferson is arguably the best receiver in the league, and Minnesota should certainly extend him. But the cost will tighten money to spend elsewhere, like on last year’s first-round pick, 22-year-old Jordan Addison, when his rookie deal ends,” Mueller wrote on May 22 for The Athletic. “Of course, if the Vikings’ assessment of J.J. McCarthy proves accurate, a quality quarterback on a five-year rookie contract might be just what the doctor ordered. If I were running the Vikings, I would pay Jefferson and keep churning WR2 at the end of Addison’s deal.”

Mueller estimated Jefferson to secure a deal in the ballpark of $35 million a year, his contract could take up roughly 14% of the Vikings’ annual salary cap.

The dilemma isn’t paying Jefferson that much; he’s a proven difference-maker.

But supporting another wide receiver on a veteran contract isn’t as cost-effective considering the bevy of young wide receiver talent coming out of college.

“Teams will always have to pay great money for good players at positions where there is true scarcity, like quarterback. But I don’t see wide receiver, especially in the modern NFL, as a position of true scarcity,” Mueller added. “As a result, the sticker shock of recent contracts has given me pause. I’m still not for letting any good player walk, but with each market-setting deal, the costs are getting harder to justify.”

Addison is coming off an impressive rookie season, securing 70 receptions for 911 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Jordan Addison Has a Good Chance to Stay With Vikings Beyond 2026 Season

Jordan Addison

GettyVikings wide receiver Jordan Addison

The good news is that Addison’s rookie deal aligns entirely with the cheap years of J.J. McCarthy‘s contract.

Addison carries an average cap hit of $3.75 million a year through the 2026 season. His fifth-year option would cost roughly between $16 to $20 million based on his playing time and if he makes a Pro Bowl, per Over The Cap.

That’s still a bargain considering the direction the wide receivers market has gone. McCarthy would be in the fourth year of his rookie deal, which would still be a sizeable discount on a quarterback.

The Vikings still have other matters to attend to like signing left tackle Christian Darrisaw to an extension and awarding several long-term deals to the defense.

But it looks like they could also afford to keep Addison around through the best years of McCarthy’s rookie deal before he would sign an extension or enter his fifth-year option.

Vikings Offense is Built to Develop J.J. McCarthy

J.J. McCarthy

GettyUniversity of Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy.

The timing of the Vikings’ selection of McCarthy is ideal considering the amount of talent surrounding him at just 21 years old.

McCarthy is a raw talent coming out of college whose floor is a game manager who could exploit the talent around him. He’s also a born-winner, who doesn’t shy away from taking a chance for the big play.

The floor is McCarthy running the Vikings offense effectively, but if he channels his playmaking ability responsibly at the next level, he could return the favor by elevating the talent around him.

At that point, the Vikings may not need to splurge at skill positions.

There are only a handful of quarterbacks in the league at a time that you could argue are not reliant on the talent around them to succeed.

That’s the hope for McCarthy, who should lean on Jefferson’s best years throughout his rookie contract before he’s tasked with building up the talent around him.

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