Unsurprisingly, Justin Jefferson is Absent From Vikings OTAs

Jefferson seems unlikely to show up until mandatory minicamp.
Jan 7, 2024; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18)
Jan 7, 2024; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) / Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports
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The Vikings' offseason program reached a new phase on Monday with the start of organized team activities (OTAs). Unsurprisingly, superstar wide receiver Justin Jefferson was not there. Jefferson, who is seeking a contract extension, didn't attend OTAs last year either. Anyone paying close attention knew that this was going to be the case. Nonetheless, given Jefferson's stature and his unresolved contract situation, the news drew a tweet from ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Let this simply serve as a reminder that nothing changed with Jefferson's status today. He is a superstar — and the face of the Vikings' franchise — who is heading into the final year of his rookie contract. He wants to stay in Minnesota, as long as they pay him what he's worth. The Vikings want to keep Jefferson, and they know it's going to take record-breaking non-quarterback money to make that happen. But this is a major contract negotiation that takes time. Some patience is needed.

Jefferson, who has a strong case as the best wide receiver on the planet, doesn't need to attend OTAs. He didn't attend OTAs last year, but showed up for mandatory minicamp and training camp and continued to dominate during the regular season when he was healthy (and no, skipping OTAs in May did not have anything to do with him injuring his hamstring in October). The earliest he'll likely show up this year is mandatory minicamp in early June. He could also skip that and incur some fines, which he could afford with the payday that's coming. This will only really become a major story if Jefferson starts holding out from training camp in July, which would lead to significant fines. But even if a new deal hasn't been agreed upon at that point, Jefferson would likely do what Danielle Hunter did last season and "hold in" — meaning show up to training camp to avoid fines but not actually participate.


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Will Ragatz

WILL RAGATZ

Will Ragatz is the publisher of Inside the Vikings, an SI.com channel in the Fan Nation network. He's in his fourth season as a credentialed Minnesota Vikings beat writer, covering the team at practices, games, and all offseason long.  Will posts daily Vikings articles year-round. Not only is he on top of all the latest news, he provides the analysis and context to put the news into perspective. He knows the team inside and out, which allows him to bring depth and quality to his coverage. From free agency to the draft to training camp and the NFL season, Will covers every relevant story surrounding the Vikings. Prior to taking this role in 2019, Will attended Northwestern University and studied at the renowned Medill School of Journalism. As a student, he covered Northwestern Wildcats football and basketball, among other sports, for SB Nation's Inside NU. Will was a co-editor-in-chief of the site during his junior year. In the fall of 2018, Will interned at Sports Illustrated's newsroom in New York City, writing articles primarily on Major League Baseball, college football, and college basketball for SI.com. A native of Minneapolis who still resides in the city, Will grew up a diehard Minnesota sports fan. He played baseball at Southwest High School and wrote for the student newspaper.