Vikings HC: Justin Jefferson Trade Was ‘Never Ever’ Discussed Before $140M Contract

Vikings HC: Justin Jefferson Trade Was ‘Never Ever’ Discussed Before $140M Contract
Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerX.com LogoFeatured Columnist IVJune 4, 2024

EAGAN, MINNESOTA - JUNE 04: Minnesota Vikings Head Coach Kevin O'Connell addresses the media in a press conference announcing a $140 million, four year contract extension for Justin Jefferson #18 at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center during Minnesota Vikings mandatory minicamp on June 04, 2024 in Eagan, Minnesota.(Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)

Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

The Minnesota Vikings never seriously considered trading wide receiver Justin Jefferson, according to head coach Kevin O’Connell.

“There’s a certain way that we kind of do business,” O’Connell told reporters Tuesday. “When you hear certain things — a lot of things come and go — and you kind of chalk it up to what they are. But when there’s things that are so far outside the realm of what’s actually happening and taking place, you find yourself wanting to come out and say, which I will unequivocally: We never, ever, one time, discussed it internally among the leadership.

“Some people have sources far and wide, but among the leadership, among the decision-makers, the people that are directly involved in the situation, there really was not one time that was ever discussed, game-planned [or] contingency planned. And I think that’s really important, because it’s not just about the result today, it’s about the process of which we’re pretty proud of.”

Minnesota Vikings @Vikings

“This was a really cool day to be a part of, and one quite frankly we’ve been very much looking forward to for a long time.” – Head Coach Kevin O’Connell pic.twitter.com/Bmz59kGdby

The Vikings ended the uncertainty over Jefferson’s future by signing him to a record-setting extension. He can make up to $140 million over four years and will earn $110 million guaranteed. His $35 million average salary is the highest non-quarterback number in the league.

Before things were finalized, some naturally wondered whether Minnesota might part ways with the three-time Pro Bowler. Star wideouts Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill both got traded when they were angling for new deals with their respective teams.

It sounds as though any trade conversations between the Vikings and any other team were entirely one-sided.

The Athletic’s Dianna Russini and Alec Lewis reported in March that general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah “aggressively rejected” any plan to move Jefferson last offseason when extension negotiations broke down. Russini and Lewis added that Kirk Cousins’ exit “hasn’t changed things.”

Subsequent reporting after news of Jefferson’s contract broke shed further light on the extent to which Minnesota remained resolute.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Tuesday the New York Jets, Indianapolis Colts and San Francisco 49ers made contact with the Vikings before the 2024 NFL draft. Schefter added that “the conversations went nowhere with anybody.”

According to Andrew Fillipponi of 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Steelers also reached out in February, only to be “straight up told a trade wasn’t happening.”

A head coach is never going to publicly admit his team thought about trading its best player only days after said player agreed to a precedent-setting contract.

In the case of O’Connell, there’s no reason not to take him at his word because the Vikings would’ve had no shortage of avenues to explore if they had any long-term reservations about Jefferson.

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