Vikings optimistic about Justin Jefferson extension

INDIANAPOLIS — Vikings General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah took a hard turn on Tuesday in the middle of answering his first question about receiver Justin Jefferson’s contract at the NFL scouting combine.

Adofo-Mensah reiterated that the Vikings want to keep Jefferson in purple. He said they were “unbelievably close” to agreeing in early September before the season started and talks were shelved. The Vikings want to pay Jefferson like “the best receiver in the league” and pay him like “one of the best non-quarterbacks.”

“We’ll continue to have those dialogues,” Adofo-Mensah said Tuesday. “I promised them and will continue to promise them that I will not talk about our negotiations. I think that should be done with integrity. So, a lot of the stuff I hear is completely false. I can’t get up here and say what’s not true and not false, because that’s not how I promised to do this job. But I can tell you we’re excited to have him and excited to continue those conversations because he’s somebody we want around for a long time.”

On the topic of rumors: Is there a world in which the Vikings would consider trading Jefferson?

“That is not something that has once crossed my mind,” Adofo-Mensah said. “You got a blue [chip] player, a blue [chip] person; you try to keep as many of those as you can.”

This time around, the clock is ticking louder around the Vikings and Jefferson.

The longer the Vikings wait, the higher Jefferson’s value could rise.

Bengals receiver Ja’Marr Chase, Jefferson’s former LSU teammate, becomes eligible for a new contract this offseason. Last fall, Chase told Cincinnati reporters that he hopes Jefferson “sets the market for me.”

Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O’Connell have remained optimistic about a Jefferson extension since initiating contract talks with Jefferson’s camp last summer when he first became eligible for a new deal. Jefferson is represented by a conglomerate of agents, including Todd France of Athletes First as well as Brian Ayrault and Ben Renzin of WME Sports.

Ayrault also represents 49ers edge rusher Nick Bosa, who possibly threw a wrench last September into the Vikings’ talks with Jefferson. Bosa reset the market for non-QB players, inking a new deal worth $34 million annually. Bosa agreed to terms on Sept. 6. Three days later, the Vikings and Jefferson shelved talks for the season.

Previously, Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald’s nearly $32 million average topped all non-QBs.

“I’m a planner. I’d love to do deals — the sooner the better,” Adofo-Mensah said Tuesday. “But obviously, deadlines spur action. That’s something [salary cap expert Rob Brzezinski] taught me and something I’ve seen in my first two years of the job has been the exact case. They have their reasons for waiting, we have our reasons for wanting to do it sooner. Ultimately, we have to come together and figure out a way to meet in the middle.”

Jefferson has broken many Vikings and NFL records, including 5,899 receiving yards as the most in a player’s first four NFL seasons. He wants to do the same for his wallet.

“I want to break the bank, and I want to be a part of an organization that wants me and to really give me what I deserve,” Jefferson said this month on SiriusXM radio. “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 very moment. Only time will tell.”

Another talking point in Jefferson’s negotiations: Who will be throwing him the ball?

Adofo-Mensah alluded to the Vikings not making promises.

“Kevin’s actually had a lot of conversation with him about that,” Adofo-Mensah said. “I think any great player, especially a wide receiver, should want to have a great quarterback who is accurate and will throw him the football when he’s open. And he gets open better than anybody in the league.

“When I first met Justin, he said, ‘Kwesi, I just want to put wins on the board,’ ” Adofo-Mensah added. “At some point, though, it’s got to be a trust in how we’re building this going forward to set us up in a sustained window to win for a long time. We’ve got to earn that trust, of course, but I think that’s a conversation we have. I think you got to treat players like partners, bring them in and have conversations with them. That’s something we’ll do with Justin.”

First appeared on

Leave a Comment