EAGAN, Minn. — Minnesota Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson continues to take a decidedly nonchalant position on talks to extend his contract, saying Thursday that he would like a new deal but isn’t sure whether it will happen before Sunday’s opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“Of course I would want a contract to be done,” Jefferson said. “But at the end of the day, it is all up to them and what the ownership want to do with that.”
General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah reiterated last week that the team intends to get a deal done, but he acknowledged that some players prefer to cut off talks once the regular season begins.
Jefferson would not reveal Thursday whether he has a preference, saying instead that “it’s up to them.”
Jefferson, 24, has accumulated more receiving yards in the first three years of his career (4,825) than any other player in NFL history. The Vikings have him under contract for two more years — at $2.4 million this season and $19.7 million in 2024 — and could use the franchise tag on him in 2025 if they don’t have a deal before then.
Those circumstances, along with the exploding market for NFL receivers, have created a complex set of negotiations. Jefferson implied as much Thursday when asked whether he has sought advice from other players who have been in similar situations.
“I’m in a different situation,” Jefferson said. “I’ve done something that no one has ever done in the history of the game. So my situation is a little bit different than everyone else’s. Of course, I’m going into my fourth year, trying to talk about contract two years early. There’s so many different parts that go in towards it. That’s why I leave it up to my agent and just keep my mindset on the field.”
Jefferson did, however, say that he hopes to continue his career with Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins, who has thrown virtually every pass Jefferson has seen in his NFL career.
Cousins has said he hopes to finish his career in Minnesota, but his contract is set to expire after the 2023 season.
Jefferson, when asked whether he would make Cousins’ future part of his own negotiations, knows that his preference for his quarterback has its limits.
It’s a part of the business. It’s kind of really hard to say so,” Jefferson said. “Of course I would love for Kirk to continue to be my quarterback. … But, again, I don’t control that. That’s up to the team and up to Kirk. But of course I would love to have Kirk and continue my journey with Kirk.”
One interested party in Jefferson’s negotations is Cincinnati Bengals two-time Pro Bowl receiver Ja”Marr Chase, who is still a year away from being able to renegotiate.
“I’m hoping he sets the mark for me,” Chase said Thursday of his former LSU teammate.
ESPN’s Ben Baby contributed to this report.