Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson reached the postseason for the first time in 2022, and his team ended its appearance in the playoff tournament with a whimper. The New York Giants bounced Jefferson and the Vikings on Sunday, 31-24, advancing to the Divisional Round against the Philadelphia Eagles.
For the Vikings, it’s a usual offseason tradition — back to the drawing board. But on that board in 2023, the franchise can prioritize re-signing Jefferson to a massive contract.
Justin Jefferson Weighs in about Future with Vikings
Jefferson joined Minnesota in 2020 from the 1st Round of the draft and will be with the Vikings through the end of the 2024 season, no matter what. But now is the time for Jefferson and the Vikings front office to ponder life beyond the rookie deal.
And according to the 23-year-old, he has no plan to venture elsewhere, telling reporters on Monday, “I mean, I will be wherever I’m wanted. If they want me here, I’m here. That’s not something that I can really control.“
Jefferson’s deal with the Vikings — or even if general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah opts not to retain his services and Jefferson plays elsewhere — will set the market, likely totaling in the $30-$35 million per season range. Every year, the new-best wide receiver in the NFL gets a record-setting contract, and 2023 will be no different. Jefferson has universally earned the moniker of the best wideout in the business.
Late last summer, Jefferson said to the Pioneer Press, “I’ll focus on contract after the season. Our main thing is reaching to that goal, but I’m not really too fond of money. I’m really just trying to get that goal of being the best receiver.”
The “not too fond of money” line encouraged fans that Jefferson’s contract situation would eventually be melodramatic, and with Jefferson’s comments now five months later, the theory was correct. The playmaker, somehow not fond of money, will likely remain with the team that brought him into the NFL.
Meanwhile, Minnesota may do homework on a new WR2 alongside Jefferson. Adam Thielen held the job next to Jefferson from 2020 to present but noticeably slowed down in 2022. And after the aforementioned loss to New York, Thielen future with the Vikings seemed seriously in jeopardy.
So, while Adofo-Mensah presumably wraps Jefferson up for the long haul, he may scour the free agency market in March or NFL Draft in April for a WR2. Otherwise, incumbent WR3 K.J. Osborn could command WR2 attention.
Free agency begins on March 15th, while the draft starts on April 27th. The Vikings have the 23rd overall pick.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).