Is Justin Jefferson the One Holding Up Contract Talks with Vikings?

NFL: Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

With each passing day, the drama continues to intensify for Minnesota Vikings’ fans and all-pro wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Jefferson is heading into his final season under contract in Minnesota, and there is still no extension for the best wide receiver in the league.

Jefferson has not shown up for voluntary organized team activities, which shouldn’t come as a surprise since a) they are voluntary and b) he did not attend last offseason’s either. But mandatory minicamp is on the horizon and that’s where the ‘will JJ show up or not‘ saga could get interesting.

Who is really holding up the Justin Jefferson contract talks?

While there may not be an extension in place yet, almost every NFL insider and reporter (both local and national) with their finger on the pulse of these negotiations still seem fairly certain that a deal between Jefferson and the Vikings will eventually get done. But until there is ink on paper, anything can happen.

Now, whenever this topic is broached, the finger is automatically pointed at the Vikings. Fans regularly ask some iteration of the same question: ‘How can a deal not be done yet?’ or ‘Just pay the man, what are they waiting for?’

But the longer this drags on, it’s worth digging into who is really holding up these contract talks. Remember, the longer we wait, the higher JJ’s price will likely go. Vikings beat writer Alec Lewis (The Athletic) hinted at that being just as much of the issue as anything the Vikings are holding out for.

If the Vikings and Jefferson do not come to terms, it might be because Jefferson’s camp is more comfortable accepting another year of risk than taking a deal it’s not excited about. The longer Jefferson waits to sign, the higher his value is likely to be. But at the same time, the longer he waits to sign, the more he risks an injury that affects his value.

Alec Lewis gives latest update on Justin Jefferson contract talks (The Athletic)

If Jefferson’s camp is more comfortable accepting another year of risk, rather than accepting a deal it’s ‘not excited about’ then this could drag on beyond this offseason, which would be a nightmare scenario for all parties because then the franchise tag gets involved and people start getting upset.

Are we watching a game of chicken unfold between Jefferson and the Minnesota Vikings?

Who is going to give in first to reach an agreement, Jefferson or the Vikings? Both sides have leverage and both sides have motivation. Remember, Jefferson is coming off a season where he missed seven games due to injury.

Another injury, however, could completely change the dynamic of these negotiations.If that doesn’t happen, then the longer JJ waits to sign, the higher his value will likely become.

The Vikings also could use the franchise tag on him next offseason and even the offseason after that, but getting into the franchise tag game with a player of Jefferson’s talent can be risky. Most of the time it leads to “ill-will” between the player and the team.

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

Eventually this will sort itself out, and us Vikings’ fans have to remain hopeful and patient. However, the longer this drags on, the louder the drama gets.

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