Justin Jefferson jogged onto the sun-soaked follow subject, continuing to leap within the air with a karate kick of his left leg as he approached his teammates.
Absent all spring on his personal offseason coaching and enterprise agenda, Jefferson’s salient presence was a pure spotlight for the Minnesota Vikings as they convened for minicamp.
“You may simply inform when he’s strolling the halls in our constructing, simply the power and the juice that he brings,” coach Kevin O’Connell mentioned Tuesday. “He was in nice form, transferring round immediately like I anticipated him to be, mentally nonetheless actually sharp.”
Jefferson, a unanimous All-Professional decide for 2022 who has two years remaining on his rookie contract, has entered the window for what’s going to seemingly be an awfully costly extension. In any case, his 4,825 yards and 324 receptions are essentially the most in NFL historical past over a participant’s first three seasons.
The Louisiana native has been understanding within the Miami space throughout the voluntary portion of Minnesota’s offseason program, which had about 97% attendance on the roster. The 2-day minicamp this week is necessary, subjecting no-shows to fines.
“I had numerous stuff occurring. They didn’t actually drive me to come back again an excessive amount of, so it didn’t appear to be I used to be lacking an excessive amount of, however they positively wished me again right here,” Jefferson mentioned.
He mentioned he is been busy with endorsement and advertising alternatives and casually dismissed a query from a reporter about whether or not his absence was associated to the dearth of a brand new contract. He additionally mentioned he would return for coaching camp, whatever the standing of negotiations.
“I don’t actually see it as a cloud hanging over my head. On the finish of the day, I’m simply going to be myself, nonetheless going to be enjoying the identical approach,” Jefferson mentioned. “The contract comes with the sport, however my agent handles that. I don’t.”
Davante Adams (Raiders), Tyreek Hill (Dolphins), A.J. Brown (Eagles), Amari Cooper (Browns) and Stefon Diggs (Bills) are the highest 5 earners within the league by way of most contract worth for vast receivers. The $140 million the Raiders dedicated to Adams is the biggest general determine at that place, although about $72 million of that comes from non-guaranteed base salaries for 2025 and 2026. Hill’s annual common of $30 million on a four-year contract with the Dolphins is at the moment the very best.
“So long as I’m going to maintain on acting at my finest skill on the sphere, being the identical individual that I’m on and off the sphere, I’ll be good,” Jefferson mentioned.
O’Connell has maintained common contact with Jefferson since final season ended, even asking him for enter about sure formation or route strategies within the infinite technique session that’s the offseason for an NFL coach.
Clearly, O’Connell wished Jefferson with the staff the whole time, notably contemplating the departure of Adam Thielen and the management void that created within the vast receiver group. The Vikings drafted Jordan Addison within the first spherical, however the USC product has been held out of the full-team practices open to reporters due to an unspecified harm.
However there is no obvious rigidity right here, both.
“We’re fairly just a few installs in on formations and sure performs, and he was in a position to leap proper again in there and actually attempt to take up a number of the new issues we’re doing as effectively for his position, which is a reasonably particular one in our offense,” O’Connell mentioned.
Nonetheless lacking, nonetheless, was defensive finish Danielle Hunter, who has been searching for a brand new deal.
Hunter has 71 sacks for the Vikings since he was drafted within the third spherical out of LSU in 2015, the sixth most within the league throughout that span regardless of lacking the whole 2020 season (herniated neck disc) and greater than half of 2021 (torn pectoral muscle) with accidents.
He has had the five-year, $72 million extension he signed in 2018 adjusted twice. He’s on the e book for a $4.9 million base wage this 12 months and a wage cap hit of greater than $13 million on a deal that’s scheduled to run out after the season. In keeping with knowledge compiled by Over The Cap, Hunter ranks fifteenth amongst edge rushers within the NFL in annual common contract worth.
Skipping the offseason program means Hunter has forfeited a $100,000 exercise bonus. He’s additionally topic to a effective of just about $50,000 from the Vikings for lacking the necessary two-day minicamp, per collective bargaining settlement tips.
“I’ve obtained all of the respect on the earth for Danielle as a participant, a pacesetter, an individual on our staff,” O’Connell mentioned. “We really feel very strongly about being solution-oriented with every thing that comes about, and this instance, identical to numerous the opposite ones which have come up, we’ll do the identical, and we hope to have continued dialogue and have a very constructive end result.”
Reporting by The Related Press.
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