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Minnesota Vikings star receiver Justin Jefferson didn’t get the contract extension he was hoping for prior to the start of the 2023 season, but he’s not focused on that.
When asked about the failed contract negotiations after Sunday’s 20-17 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jefferson told reporters he’s more concerned with helping his team be successful.
“I have the same mindset as I had before. At the end of the day, all I can do is play football. And that’s what I continue to do. I know my team. My team doesn’t care about the contract, you know? And I don’t either,” he said. “I just want to be here for my teammates, play for my teammates and of course get these wins.”
Jefferson recorded team highs of nine catches and 150 yards in Sunday’s loss. The reigning NFL Offensive Player of the Year picked up right where he left off, setting another NFL record with his ninth game with at least 150 receiving yards before the age of 25.
Jefferson is in the fourth year of his rookie contract, which will pay him $2.4 million this season. He’s set to make $19.4 million in 2024, and the team could choose to franchise tag him in 2025. Contract negotiations had intensified over the past few weeks and there was a hope by Minnesota that he would agree to a deal by Saturday, but that obviously didn’t happen.
“He knows I support him 100 percent, and he was all in today and really has been,” Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell said. “We would have loved to get something done with Justin, but the decision was made. And I do not for one second believe that Justin is not going to put his best foot forward like he did today. And really was pretty darn special today.”
Jefferson and the Vikings will have a quick turnaround as they try to bounce back from Sunday’s loss in a marquee matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday Night Football.