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Vikings won’t trade Justin Jefferson; new deal was ‘close’ last year

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INDIANAPOLIS — Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has no interest in trading star wide receiver Justin Jefferson.”That is not something that once crossed my mind,” Adofo-Mensah t

INDIANAPOLIS — Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has no interest in trading star wide receiver Justin Jefferson.

“That is not something that once crossed my mind,” Adofo-Mensah told reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine on Tuesday. “You’ve got a blue(-chip) player, a blue(-chip) person. You try and keep as many of those as you can.”

Jefferson, the NFL Offensive Player of the Year two seasons ago, had his 2023 season interrupted by a hamstring injury but still finished with 68 receptions for 1,074 yards and five touchdowns. He’s entering the fifth and final year of his rookie contract.

Adofo-Mensah told reporters the Vikings got “unbelievably close” to an extension agreement with Jefferson last spring, but that those deals don’t tend to get done after a player’s third year because of the uncertainty on both ends.

According to the GM, the Vikings believe Jefferson should be among the highest-paid players in the league.

“We’ve said it, and we continue to say, we think he’s the best receiver in the league and should be compensated as such,” Adofo-Mensah said. “We think he’s one of the best non-quarterbacks in the league, and should be compensated as such. So we’ll continue to have those dialogues and those conversations.

“I promised (Jefferson and his camp), and I will continue to promise them, I will not talk about our negotiations. I think the job should be done with integrity. So a lot of stuff that I hear is completely false, but I can’t get up here and tell you what’s not true or not false, because that’s not that’s not how I promised them I would operate.”

The “completely false” stuff, as it turns out, includes considering a trade.

“We’re excited to have him and continue those conversations because he’s somebody we want around for a long time,” Adofo-Mensah said.

Among the question marks involved in Jefferson’s decision is who will be throwing him the ball long-term. Kirk Cousins, who will turn 36 before the start of the new season, will have his contract void March 13 unless the Vikings reach an extension with him.

Complicating matters, Cousins ruptured his right Achilles in late October and is in the middle of rehabbing the first major injury of his NFL career. He posted a video to social media Monday showing him backpedaling and throwing on an indoor tennis court.

“You know Kirk, obviously again, another person we’ve had these dialogues the past couple of seasons, had a great conversation with him a few days ago,” Adofo-Mensah said. “Same thing, though, with the other day. It’s, we have our interests. He has his. We’ll get to the table to see if we can figure out a creative solution and kind of meet in the middle. That’s what every contract negotiation is. And that’s what it’ll be with him.”

The GM said Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell has talked with Jefferson about the team’s quarterback situation.

“I think any great player, especially a wide receiver should want to have a great quarterback, who’s accurate and is gonna throw him the football when he’s open,” Adofo-Mensah said. “And he gets open better than anybody else in the league. So that is something that’s important.

“… I think you got to treat players like partners, you got to bring them in and have those conversations with them. And that’s something we’ll do with Justin.”