4 Minnesota Vikings who won't be back if Justin Jefferson gets the bag

The Minnesota Vikings could sign Justin Jefferson to a massive contract extension, but it would impact their present and future.

Minnesota Vikings v Detroit Lions
Minnesota Vikings v Detroit Lions / Mike Mulholland/GettyImages
1 of 4

The Minnesota Vikings want to sign Justin Jefferson to a contract extension this offseason. Jefferson has also prompted these conversations, so all parties are on board.

To be clear, in no way am I suggesting the Vikings shouldn't extend Jefferson. He is arguably the best wide receiver in football, and definitely a player Minnesota would prefer to keep on their roster. But like all lucrative extensions, Jefferson's new deal will have major repercussions on the rest of the 53-man roster.

The Vikings offseason plans are shrouded in secrecy, specifically around the quarterback position. Kirk Cousins is the best QB on the market, and he will be paid as such by some desperate organization. Minnesota can only offer so much, and the Vikings are hoping he's open to a hometown discount.

Per Spotrac, a Jefferson extension could cost the Vikings close to $30 million per season. $80 million of that would be guaranteed at signing. Jefferson has earned every penny, but that'll limit the Vikings spending moving forward.

A new deal for Jefferson is worthwhile. He's entering his prime and only getting better. However, the Vikings will have to rebuild around him, as Jefferson will be the centerpiece of Kevin O'Connell's offense. That means at least these four players won't return if he's extended at the above rate.

4. Alexander Mattison is gone whether the Vikings extend Justin Jefferson or not

This one isn't a huge shock, as Mattison failed to take advantage of his chance to be the lone running back in life after Dalvin Cook. The Vikings seem willing to let Mattison walk, which means they likely have a plan at running back that doesn't include him.

Running backs are a dime a dozen these days, unfortunately, so Minnesota can either afford a cheap replacement in free agency or draft a project in the middle rounds. As Adam Patrick of The Viking Age wrote, Mattison failed to provide much consistency in Minnesota's backfield. They'll be better off without him.

"But in the last three years, Mattison was much less efficient out on the field for Minnesota, as he averaged less than four yards per rushing attempt in 2021, 2022, and 2023. Last season, he had a golden opportunity to be a No. 1 RB for the first time in his NFL career, and it turned out to be too big of a stage for him." Patrick wrote.

With Jefferson's money on the books in this scenario, the Vikings should not consider bringing back Mattison on a cheaper deal.