Insider: Justin Jefferson Raising Vikings’ ‘Desperation’ Amid Trade Rumors

Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings

Getty Justin Jefferson #18 of the Minnesota Vikings.

The Minnesota Vikings’ decision at quarterback will impact the organization on multiple levels. That potentially includes the future of star wide receiver Justin Jefferson.

They have until the summer of 2028 before they must make a long-term commitment to a future with or without the three-time Pro Bowler. He is heading toward playing this season on the fifth-year option of his rookie season.

The Vikings can apply the franchise tag three times. That gives them some control over how the situation plays out in the interim.

However, their new reality at quarterback could make that a trying process for both sides.

The Vikings signed Sam Darnold to replace Kirk Cousins. Asked how badly the Vikings want to do something more substantial, The Athletic’s Alex Lewis said the team is “pretty desperate.”

“From the time Kirk Cousins departed and moved to Atlanta, it seemed pretty obvious that Option 1A at this point is for them to get their guy,” Lewis told “Patriots Talk Podcast” host Tom Curran, who asked the question during the episode that aired on March 19.

“At this point, it is hard to identify which guy it is specifically. But I would be very surprised if Kwesi Adofo-Mensah – a GM who derives from Wall Street – is not going to do everything he can to trade to the optimal spot where he feels like he can find his guy and head coach Kevin O’Connell‘s guy.”

The Vikings’ rumored interest in trading up in the 2024 draft got a boost from their trade with the Houston Texans to acquire the No. 23 overall pick.

Vikings’ GM Could Face ‘Pressure’ to Address QB, Keep Justin Jefferson Happy

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, Minnesota Vikings

GettyGeneral manager Kwesi Adolfo-Mensah of the Minnesota Vikings.

Quarterback is the most important position on the field. It could also be the most important position at the negotiating table for the Vikings. Already a three-time Pro Bowler and one-time All-Pro, Jefferson is set to land a historic contract.

Curran asked if there was a “level of desperation” within the Vikings organization to address the quarterback position because of Jefferson.

“I think there is,” Lewis said. “Justin’s a guy who wants a lot of money. But he also wants to be in a situation where he can win football games year after year. He wants to be a Hall of Famer; he wants to wear a gold jacket. He wants to be relevant and winning provides those opportunities. And to win you need a quarterback.

“No question, to establish and earn his trust, and then also for the GM and head coach entering their third seasons to establish trust with ownership and the fan base – to me – there is pressure to make something happen here.”

What that something is remains a big question.

Perhaps even bigger than whether or not the Vikings will try to trade up in the draft to get a quarterback of the future.

‘No Doubt’ Vikings Want to Trade Up for QB

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, Kevin O'Connell, Minnesota Vikings

GettyKwesi Adofo-Mensah (R) and Kevin O’Connell of the Minnesota Vikings.

“The Vikings are definitely interested in making more moves,” ESPN’s Adam Schefter said on the “Pat McAfee Show” on March 18. “They’re sitting there right now with Picks 11 and 23, and I think a lot of it depends on draft night.

“I think it’s hard to do that in advance until you see how the board is falling and how the quarterbacks are coming off the board. But there’s no doubt that the Minnesota Vikings are interested in a quarterback. There’s no doubt that they are interested in trying to move up again. And again, the question becomes when do they do it, and for who?”

The Vikings sent quarterbacks coach Josh McCown to Caleb Williams‘ pro day. McCown also has ties to Drake Maye.

Jayden Daniels offers additional appeal hailing from Jefferson’s alma mater.

J.J. McCarthy spoke highly of Jefferson and his meeting with Vikings brass at the combine. And then there are options like Bo Nix and Michael Penix Jr. The Vikings’ trade with Houston suggests they have loftier goals, though.