Vikings WR Justin Jefferson on extension: 'I want to be the best player to ever do it'

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson is at the team’s mandatory mini camp, a day after becoming the highest-paid receiver in the history of the NFL.

Jefferson spoke with reporters before Tuesday’s practice about his historic four-year, $140 million contract extension to stay in Minnesota that includes $110 million guaranteed. He celebrated with Vikings General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, head coach Kevin O’Connell, his agent and most of his family.

He took a breath before going to the podium and said, "Finally here."

"This is a blessing, this is something I’ve been waiting for for a long, long time. Not only just the money standpoint, but just setting my family up for generations and as long as I can live. Just to be given this opportunity to be playing at the highest level, to have a contract that will set me up for the life I live and just to be playing for this organization, there’s nothing wrong with this organization at all," Jefferson said. "I love every single thing about it."

Not only is Jefferson now the highest-paid receiver in NFL history, he's the highest-paid non-quarterback in league history. But he said it wasn't all about money.

"I always preached the money never really was a big thing for me. It was mostly about just solidifying myself as the top receiver in the league. Of course I want to be holding that gold jacket when my career is over with. I want to be the best player to ever do it," Jefferson said. 

Despite missing seven games with a hamstring injury last season, Jefferson made 68 catches for 1,074 yards and six touchdowns. He nearly set the single-season record for receiving yards two seasons ago. In four seasons with the Vikings, he has 392 catches for 5,899 receiving yards and 30 touchdowns. He was the NFL's Offensive Player of the Year in 2022, and was a First Team All-Pro pick. He's a three-time Pro Bowl selection.

Just four seasons into his NFL career, Jefferson is already eighth in Vikings history in receiving yards, tied for ninth in receiving touchdowns and 10 in catches.

"To be able to extend Justin, I truly think he’s one of the brightest stars in all of professional sports. It was really critical for our franchise, for me as the head coach, for our offense, for our entire team, the heart and soul of our entire team on a daily basis, Justin fits everything that we want to be about and continue to build in this building," O'Connell said. 

Adofo-Mensah said despite getting calls from teams wanting to trade for Jefferson, not having him in Minnesota was never an option.

"This day, this move was something foundational to everything we’re going to be as a team this season and going forward," Adofo-Mensah said. "This day was going to come, there was never a second in my mind that we weren’t going to be here. You have to navigate challenges and things like that, but this was always our purpose."

Jefferson said he considers himself a leader on the team, and is ready to embrace his role as the face of the team with a new contract.

"We knew that this deal was going to be done, it was just all about the time, all about getting to the right numbers and what I deserve. This is something I’ve been waiting for, and now being the leader of this team, carrying myself a different way. I’m going to be on everyone hard and I’m going to make sure I’m the leader of this team, and we’re working to where we want to go, which is a world championship," Jefferson said. "I got some work to do, let’s wrap this up."

Jefferson caught his first passes from Sam Darnold at mandatory mini camp on Tuesday at TCO Performance Center.