Justin Jefferson Absent From Vikings’ OTAs

CeeDee Lamb has elected to stay away from the Cowboys in the absence of a long-term extension being worked out. The same remains true in the case of Justin Jeffersonanother wideout looking to approach or reach the top of his position’s market.

Jefferson is absent from the Vikings as their organized team activities begin, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports. The 2022 Offensive Player of the Year also skipped out on the beginning of Minnesota’s offseason program last month, so today’s update does not represent a surprise. Jefferson’s decision comes as extension talks are ongoing.

General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah said earlier this offseason that the sides came close to an agreement last year. Negotiations were ultimately put on hold, though, and they briefly resumed resumed after the close of the 2023 campaign. With attention turning to the draft, the team temporarily pressed pause for a time, but the focus is once again on hammering out a lucrative pact.

Jefferson had the most productive three-year start to a career in NFL history, giving him a strong case to sign the league’s most valuable receiver pact. The 24-year-old was limited to 10 games in 2024 due to a hamstring injury, though he still managed to post a 68-1,074-5 statline. Kirk Cousins is no longer Minnesota’s quarterback, with Sam Darnold in place as a bridge option and first-rounder J.J. McCarthy positioned to take over as a starter down the road.

Both of those signal-callers carry plenty of question marks relative to Cousins, but Jefferson will still be counted on to produce among the league’s top playmakers moving forward. The three-time Pro Bowler is due $19.74MM in 2024 as he is set to play out his fifth-year option. A franchise tag could be an option for the following year, but a multi-year investment at a much larger rate remains a matter of mutual interest.

Tyreek Hill‘s $30MM-per-year Dolphins pact has been surpassed as the top receiver deal in terms of annual compensation. Both Amon-Ra St. Brown (Lions) and A.J. Brown (Eagles) have eclipsed that figure on mega-pacts of their own, with the latter’s checking in at $32MM per season with $51MM fully guaranteed at signing. Jefferson, along with Lamb and Bengals standout Ja’Marr Chase, is in line to parlay his production into a similar contract. It will be interesting to see if traction is gained between he and the Vikings in the near future.

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