New Justin Jefferson Update Should Bring a Sigh of Relief for Vikings Fans

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

In recent weeks, there has been increased buzz regarding the potential of the Vikings trading star wide receiver Justin Jefferson.

The four-year pro is eligible for a massive contract extension this offseason, but given some of the uncertainty at other positions on the Vikings’ roster, there are some who believe the team should explore trading the All-Pro receiver and focus on rebuilding the team.

This, understandably, has caused a bit of tension and unrest within Vikings fandom as the fifth and final year of Jefferson’s rookie contract continues to creep closer. However, a new update should bring a sigh of relief to any Vikings fans contemplating the possibility of Jefferson leaving the team.

The New Justin Jefferson Update

Justin Jefferson Update
Sep 10, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) warms up before the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN published an article Thursday that should take away much of the Jefferson-related anxiety. Kevin Seifert wrote, “The Vikings are not playing hardball, and Jefferson has no reluctance about playing in Minnesota, multiple sources said during the 2023 season. Jefferson has publicly endorsed the return of free agent quarterback Kirk Cousins, but the unsettled nature of the position has not been a central focus of the talks, either.”

This report from Seifert extinguishes a couple of theories surrounding a potential Jefferson trade. Firstly, there has been some belief that the Vikings could be reluctant to give Jefferson a guaranteed contract past year one of the deal seeing as he does not play at the quarterback position.

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has had a bit of a reputation for playing hardball with players in the past. Neither Kirk Cousins or Jefferson received contract extensions last offseason, and the GM decided to part ways with a handful of veteran players such as Dalvin Cook, Eric Kendricks, and Adam Thielen. So, the speculation was at least warranted. However, Seifert suggests that this isn’t the case for Jefferson, at least, not this time around.

Sep 12, 2021; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) runs the ball in overtime against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Jefferson himself added some fuel to the fire over the course of Super Bowl week. While chatting with Adam Schein of “Mad Dog Sports Radio,” the three-time Pro Bowler stated:

“I want to break the bank, and I want to be a part of an organization that wants me and really gives me what I deserve. I feel like eventually, the Vikings will do what they need to do to have me in the building, but I don’t really know at this moment. Only time will tell. I feel like I have the right people in my circle to negotiate and to do what’s right, and I feel like this whole process of how we handle things, I feel like we did a great job with it.”

There was a newfound urgency from Jefferson with these statements that we hadn’t seen in his comments to that point. Throughout the past year, he went through minicamp, training camp, and the entire 2023 regular season despite the fact that he hadn’t received a new deal, and he continuously professed that he was going to be there for his team, regardless of if the money followed or not. That mindset changed a bit during his interviews on radio row. It was an absolutely warranted change in tone, but nonetheless, still a bit surprising from the star.

The other theory that can be tossed aside is the idea that Jefferson only wants to remain with the Vikings if Kirk Cousins or a certain QB prospect was the player throwing him the ball. Jefferson has often spoken up in favor of Cousins returning, and this had led a few to believe that, should the veteran QB leave, Jefferson would soon leave as well. Seifert’s article suggests that this idea is not true.

Dec 24, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) celebrates his touchdown against the Detroit Lions during the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Seifert concludes, “The Vikings have traded away two of the best receivers in franchise history — Randy Moss (2005) and Stefon Diggs (2020) — but there are no indications that they are even remotely considering it with Jefferson.”

At the end of the day, it will certainly take a large contract in order to keep Jefferson in purple for the remainder of his prime. However, he is worth every penny of whatever deal he gets, and hopefully, that agreement can happen soon.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.