Justin Jefferson Not Present To Start Vikings’ Offseason Program

Offseason programs do not shift to the mandatory attendance portion until near their conclusion, with minicamps residing on teams’ calendars in June. But this week will bring a minor chapter in a few contract sagas. Justin Jefferson‘s status with the Vikings is among them.

Jefferson did not report to the first day of the Vikings’ offseason program Monday. It should be noted Jefferson did not show for Vikings voluntary work last year but reported for minicamp. The sides engaged in extension talks leading up to the season, falling just short, and remain without a resolution. The Vikings have Jefferson tied to a $19.74MM fifth-year option, which is fully guaranteed.

[RELATED: Vikings To Not Intend To Trade Justin Jefferson]

I’ve had a lot of great dialogue with Justin throughout even the early part of this offseason and leading up,” Kevin O’Connell said, via KTSP in Minnesota. “My hope is we can get him around the team. Obviously such a special player, but it goes beyond that this time of year because of just the energy and flat-out way he goes to work.”

Although Jefferson suffered a hamstring injury that kept him off the field for much of last season, the three-time All-Pro remains on track to secure a market-resetting extension. CeeDee Lamb and Amon-Ra St. Brown also being on the extension radar provides a bit of a complication, as Jefferson has accomplished more than his NFC peers. It is understandable the 2020 first-round pick will want to be the NFL’s highest-paid receiver. Tyreek Hill, thanks to a contract that features a lofty nonguaranteed 2026 season to up the AAV, remains in that spot (at $30MM per year). Jefferson, 24, has confirmed he wants to land his big-money deal with the Vikings.

Not showing up at the Vikes’ Eagan, Minn., facility until minicamp this offseason will be a bit different than his 2023 absence. The Vikings have a new quarterback, after six Kirk Cousins seasons, and Sam Darnold will likely be joined by a first-round pick when the team convenes for post-draft workouts. Jefferson working with the Vikes’ post-Cousins QBs would stand to benefit all parties. But this is part of negotiating playbooks; with no resolution in sight, Jefferson may well opt to stay away for a while. No fines can come his way until minicamp.

The Vikings have a history of authorizing wide receiver extensions and then trading the player, as they did with Randy Moss (extended in 2001, traded in 2005) and Stefon Diggs (extended in 2018, dealt in 2020). They also moved Percy Harvin, who signed his second contract with the Seahawks. Jefferson’s early years place him on a plane with Moss and few others throughout NFL history. The Vikings have, however, paid T.J. Hockenson at a top-market rate. Once Cousins’ dead money ($28.5MM) comes off their books in 2025, the Vikes — with Darnold on a one-year deal and the to-be-determined rookie (in all likelihood) tied to a cost-controlled deal for at least three years — also have a clearer runway for a Jefferson deal.

The prospect of how much more it will take compared to Miami’s Hill contract will be a component in Minnesota’s Jefferson talks. The second year of Jefferson extension eligibility has not reached a key juncture, but that point will arrive before the season starts.

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