National Football League
Vikings reportedly don't plan to trade Justin Jefferson after Kirk Cousins' departure
National Football League

Vikings reportedly don't plan to trade Justin Jefferson after Kirk Cousins' departure

Updated Mar. 13, 2024 12:13 p.m. ET

Even though they've yet to come to terms on a long-term extension with Justin Jefferson, the Minnesota Vikings aren't considering trading their star receiver after losing quarterback Kirk Cousins to the Atlanta Falcons in free agency, The Athletic reported Wednesday.

That stance matches what Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah said when he spoke with reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine in late February.

"That's not something that has once crossed my mind," Adofo-Mensah said when asked about possibly trading Jefferson. "You've got a blue player, blue person. You try and keep as many of those as you can."

Despite the recent report and the Vikings' insistence that Jefferson isn't available for trade, that hasn't stopped rampant speculation that Minnesota could move on from the star receiver. After Tee Higgins reportedly requested a trade from the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday, some read into Ja'Marr Chase's social media posts as a possible sign that the team could make a move for Jefferson, who played with Chase and Joe Burrow at LSU.


"@JJettas2 pls answer these people lol idky they think i'm calling the shots. wyd yo ???" Chase wrote in one social media post tagging Jefferson.

"this will be a krazy story to tell," he wrote in another.

If the speculation of the Bengals trading for Jefferson is just that, the Vikings still have to work out an extension with the star wideout. The 2022 Offensive Player of the Year is entering the final year of his rookie deal after the Vikings picked up his $19.7 million fifth-year option last season. Both sides negotiated an extension last offseason, but came up short before the self-imposed deadline at the start of the regular season. 

Adofo-Mensah said the two sides got "unbelievably close" to agreeing to an extension during those talks. 

"I will tell you that we're excited to have him and continue those conversations because he's somebody we want around for a long time," Adofo-Mensah said in February.

What could complicate getting a deal done in the interim is the number of other standout receivers who are seeking contracts. Calvin Ridley is the top receiver in free agency while Higgins is on the franchise tag. Chase and San Francisco 49ers standout Brandon Aiyuk lead the way among notable receivers who are extension-eligible this offseason. 

NFL QB free agency roundup ft. Baker Mayfield, Russell Wilson & Kirk Cousins

Jefferson is arguably the best among the group, as he currently holds the record for most receiving yards per game in NFL history (98.3). He also had 68 receptions for 1,074 yards and five touchdowns in just 10 games last season, playing a considerable amount of time with the Vikings' backup quarterbacks after Cousins ruptured his Achilles. So, Jefferson could wait for other receivers to sign deals before signing his, similar to how quarterbacks signed their extensions last offseason.

If Adofo-Mensah follows through on his promise to not trade Jefferson, some of the other pieces of the Vikings' offense are falling into place. They agreed to a one-year deal with former 49ers backup quarterback Sam Darnold in the hours after Cousins' departure. They also agreed to a deal with running back Aaron Jones to replace Alexander Mattison, who was released earlier in March.

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