June 25, 2024

The Minnesota Vikings may find solace in having standout wideout Justin Jefferson under contract for another season. They also have the tools to keep the three-time Pro Bowler around for a few more seasons.

In actuality, contract situations rarely go that way, as athletes prefer the security of long-term agreements. They can also carry lesser cap hits than the franchise tag.

However, former Vikings general manager Jeff Diamond does not believe it will come into play.

Diamond contends that Jefferson will seek to be the “highest-paid non-quarterback” in the NFL. His new contract would pay more than Aaron Donald of the Los Angeles Rams and Nick Bosa of the San Francisco 49ers in terms of average annual salary and guaranteed money.

He would surpass Miami Dolphins star wideout Tyreek Hill as the highest-paid player at the position in NFL history in terms of annual salary.

 

Such a deal would also outbid Las Vegas Raiders standout Davante Adams for the highest overall amount.

Jefferson, 24, accumulated at least 1,000 yards for the fourth consecutive season. He earned the milestone this season despite missing seven games due to a hamstring injury, leaving another early due to a chest issue, and receiving passes from four different quarterbacks.

However, the most convincing reason for extending him could be that it would reduce his 2024 cap impact by approximately $10 million.

The Vikings have just under $30 million in cap space, according to Spotrac, and plenty of holes to fill.

 

Former Vikings GM Jeff Diamond on the urgent roster moves, free agency,  draft, and coaching staff decisions facing the team in the off season

 

Extending Justin Jefferson Could Help Vikings Keep Kirk Cousins, Danielle Hunter

“The savings with Jefferson’s new contract will help the Vikings’ attempts to re-sign … [Kirk] Cousins and Danielle Hunter,” Diamond said in a statement. “Cousins will demand at least $45 million per year following his productive first eight games in 2023 and 13-win season in 2022. Hunter will cost the Vikings approximately $25 million per year as the team’s most significant defensive player.

Cousins will count $28.5 million against the limit next season because of vacant years on previous contracts. But Jefferson has stated that he wants Cousins back next season. Hunter, meanwhile, recorded a career-high 16.5 sacks en route to his fourth Pro Bowl selection.

Minnesota has several candidates who will be cut or have their contracts adjusted.

According to The Athletic’s Alex Lewis on January 23, the Vikings now have the potential to add $40 million in cap space.

In addition to his Pro Bowl appearances, Jefferson was a one-time All-Pro and the 2022 NFL Offensive Player of the Year. Despite the fact that the situation remains unsolved, his work has provided him with some consolation.

Justin Jefferson Wants New Contract With Vikings

“Of course, I’ll want a contract completed. But, at the end of the day, it is all up to them and what the ownership wishes to do,” Jefferson told reporters in September. “That is up to them.” My primary focus is on football and other activities that I excel in. So I’m good at being on the field and catching the football, and I’ll keep doing that.”

Before last season, the Vikings spoke with Jefferson’s representatives about extending his contract. And General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah stated that he is looking forward to restarting negotiations this offseason.

However, there has been some external skepticism as to whether ownership will open the checkbook. They did deal Stefon Diggs to the Buffalo Bills.

Diggs’ fate, however, was mostly determined by his relationship with the coaching staff. This is a separate staffing and front-desk setup. In this light, Adofo-Mensah’s outspoken attitude on Jefferson, who was taken with a pick acquired in the Diggs deal, is noteworthy.

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