How Much Will the Vikings Pay Justin Jefferson?

Two Young Vikings Make 'Top 25 Under 25' List
Oct 30, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings 2022 NFL season ended on Sunday in less-than-ideal fashion. After winning 13 games during the regular season, and some incredible highs along the way, they came crashing back down to earth.

Now, we enter a much-anticipated offseason where we will likely find out how much the Vikings pay Justin Jefferson for his contract extension.

Following a trade of Stefon Diggs to the Buffalo Bills, Minnesota found an immediate replacement at wide receiver in Jefferson. Taken in the 1st round of the draft out of LSU, the three-year pro has done nothing but break records and set new ceilings along his path to superstardom.

This season for Minnesota, Jefferson found himself on pace to take down Calvin Johnson’s single-season receiving yardage total. Unfortunately, a lackluster game against the Green Bay Packers all but put an end to the possibility, and instead there was never an argument to be made about a 17-game season carrying the same weight.

Vikings Lost Offensive Identity
Jan 15, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) looks on during warmups before a wild card game against the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Still though, when looking back at his 2022, Jefferson was amazing. He posted over 1,800 yards for Kevin O’Connell’s offense and led the entire league in receptions as well. Despite a valiant effort by Miami Dolphins wideout Tyreek Hill, Jefferson was truly in a class of his own. Now entering an offseason in which he is eligible to be paid, the 23-year-old should strike it rich.

Currently only four NFL wide receivers have contracts with a value of $100 million or more. They include Hill, Davante Adams, A.J. Brown, and Amari Cooper. Brown is the youngest among the group, but Hill has the most total guaranteed. At $140 million, Adams’ deal with the Las Vegas Raiders has the greatest value, and only Hill’s $120 million value comes close. All of them are soon to be looking up at Jefferson.

Much the way Minnesota’s wide receiver paced the league this year on the field, his bank account should soon follow. Adams signed his five-year deal with the Raiders prior to the 2022 season. He was 30 years old at the time. Brown signed his four-year, $100 million extension prior to the 2022 season, at which point he was only 25 years old. In both cases Jefferson is not only the superior player, but also younger than each.

A New First Is Coming for Justin Jefferson
Jan 8, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) warms up wearing a shirt honoring Buffalo Bills Safety Damar Hamlin (3) before the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports

While length is often a question with regards to NFL contracts due to risk of injury, there is no reason that Jefferson couldn’t be searching for something more long term. With valuations all over the place and guarantees being the key figure, the expectation should be that Jefferson will seek the greatest amount of secured money.

Hypothetically speaking, Jefferson could negotiate for something that incorporates the best of all deals. He’ll probably want to top Adams’ $140 million valuation as well as his $65 million total guarantee. Hill also has an average annual value of $30 million and a five-year deal clearing that number would take Jefferson somewhere into the $150 million range.

Week 16 NFL Playoff Picture
Dec 17, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

There is no denying that Minnesota will have tough decisions this offseason. There are plenty of talented players that are simply aging too drastically or carry cap hits untenable to building a complete roster. Finding the money to appease their superstar is a must, and making sure the roster is competitive across all 53 players has to be the goal.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.