Justin Jefferson’s New Contract Could Cost the Vikings Jordan Addison

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Minnesota Vikings
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings have two young legitimate wide receivers on roster. One, Justin Jefferson, is on the verge of being the highest paid non-quarterback in the league. The other, Jordan Addison, was the Vikings’ first-round selection in the 2023 NFL Draft and he’s already pushing the limits of just how talented a WR2 can be in this league.

Jefferson is on the last year of his rookie contract, and the way things are looking, a monster payday is on the horizon (eventually). With the amount of money Jefferson will command (~$35 million per year), one former NFL executive is having a hard time believing that the Vikings will ever pay two wide receivers the amount that they will eventually have to pay Jordan Addison, on top of whatever JJ ends up getting.

Will extending Justin Jefferson cost the Minnesota Vikings Jordan Addison?

Addison is only going into the second year of a four-year rookie contract. That isn’t including a fifth-year team option, as well as franchise tag possibilities after that. In other words, the Vikings could technically control Addison’s future for six to seven more years, though it would get expensive at the end.

But former NFL executive Randy Mueller (now a contributor for The Athletic) believes he has a better idea. If he were running the Minnesota Vikings front office, he’d be preparing to deal Jordan Addison before he ever gets expensive.

Jefferson is arguably the best receiver in the league, and Minnesota should certainly extend him. But the cost will tighten money to spend elsewhere, like on last year’s 1st-round pick, 22-year-old Jordan Addison, when his rookie deal ends. Of course, if the Vikings’ assessment of J.J. McCarthy proves accurate, a quality QB on a 5-year rookie contract might be just what the doctor ordered. If I were running the Vikings, I would pay Jefferson and keep churning WR2 at the end of Addison’s deal.

Randy Mueller – Former NFL Executive / Writer for The Athletic

Mueller agrees that Jefferson is the best wide receiver in the NFL and they should certainly extend him. However, he mentions the cost that it will take to re-sign the (almost) 25-year-old phenom will leave them in a tough place financially. Mueller is looking to the future and sees Addison as a possible cap casualty in 2026, or whatever year he would become eligible for an extension.

Related: J.J. McCarthy Isn’t Even the Minnesota Vikings’ Backup Right Now

The point: If it’s not Addison, it’ll be someone else of importance

But Randy’s point is broader. Once Jefferson inks his deal, the Minnesota Vikings will have to make sacrifices elsewhere on the roster. Christian Darrisaw is going to get paid. Brian O’Neill and TJ Hockenson are already getting paid. Plus, you’ll have to pay for upgrades elsewhere, etc.

Point being, roster sacrifices are going to come from somewhere. Will it be Addison? That depends on how well he plays, how much someone else wants him, who the Vikings have coming behind him, all of those variables.

Mueller does note that if the Vikings’ assessment of rookie Quarterback J.J. McCarthy proves accurate, having that quarterback on a rookie contract should allow them some flexibility. It’s way too early to make this assessment. Yes, Addison had an unbelievable rookie season, in which he lead all rookie wide receivers in touchdowns.

In the end, it’s way to early to begin discussions of whether or not the Vikings should move on after Jordan Addison’s rookie contract. But Mueller’s overall point is worth keeping in mind, as we move forward post JJ extension (whenever that comes).

Related: How Good are JJ McCarthy and Dallas Turner Projected to Be vs Rest of 2024 NFL Draft Class?

Vikings’ General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has already shown that he’s excellent with balancing the roster, financially. He’s also shown a willingness to pay the players who are most critical to the organization. But a lot of times, those two ideas collide.

That’s when decisions that will make or break a football team have to be made. We’ll see if Kwesi can pick and choose correctly over the next few years, as Justin Jefferson gets more expensive and we wait to see if JJ McCarthy really is the future.

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