Official Vikings News: Just In Minnesota Vikings Confirm In Discussion To Trade Up Justin Jefferson Name His Replacement

### Report: Vikings Considered Trading Justin Jefferson and Moving Up in NFL Draft

The Minnesota Vikings have yet to secure wide receiver Justin Jefferson with a long-term contract, which is expected to make him the highest-paid non-quarterback in NFL history. This situation may have driven a plan to trade him during or after the recent draft.

#### Draft Day Rumors and Jefferson’s Potential Trade

Charley Walters of The Pioneer Press reported on May 26 that there was significant buzz around the Vikings’ interest in moving up from their No. 11 draft position to the top five. Contrary to popular belief, the goal was not to draft a quarterback but to secure LSU wide receiver Malik Nabers, who was picked No. 6 by the New York Giants. If this trade had happened, Jefferson would have been traded, and Nabers would have taken his place as the top receiver.

#### The Financial Strain of Jefferson’s Contract

Moving on from a player of Jefferson’s caliber—a three-time Pro Bowler and one-time All-Pro at just 24 years old—seems unimaginable. However, Jefferson’s contract demands are reportedly so high that the Vikings may have considered it. The team’s delay in extending Jefferson’s contract has not helped, especially with the NFL’s salary cap increasing by $30 million from 2023 to 2024, boosting his negotiating leverage.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter noted that Jefferson’s new deal is expected to make him the highest-paid non-quarterback in NFL history. This could see Jefferson earning around $35 million annually over at least five years, surpassing the $34 million annual value of Nick Bosa’s contract with the San Francisco 49ers.

#### Implications of a High-Paying Contract

Such a lucrative deal would significantly impact the Vikings’ salary cap, potentially taking up nearly 14% of their available funds, based on a projected $255 million cap in 2024. While this is feasible given their current quarterback contracts—Sam Darnold on a one-year, $10 million deal, and rookie J.J. McCarthy’s four-year contract at about $5 million per year—long-term sustainability would be challenging if they had a more expensive quarterback.

#### Strategic Alternatives and Future Planning

Had the Vikings successfully traded up for Malik Nabers and traded Jefferson, they might have built a formidable, cost-effective receiving corps around Nabers and Jordan Addison, alongside two-time Pro Bowler T.J. Hockenson at tight end. This scenario might have left them without the draft capital to select McCarthy, but trading Jefferson could have brought in enough first-round picks to potentially trade up again for another top quarterback.

Alternatively, the Vikings could have opted to rely on Darnold for a season and used the additional draft capital from trading Jefferson to secure a top quarterback in the 2025 draft or through a future trade.

#### Moving Forward with Jefferson

Currently, Jefferson is set to play under his fifth-year option in 2024, earning $19.75 million. After that, the Vikings could use the franchise tag to keep him for another year. However, Jefferson is reportedly growing impatient, and it would be prudent for Minnesota to secure his contract this summer before his price escalates further.

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