Justin Jefferson absent from Vikings’ voluntary workouts: Here’s why fans shouldn’t be worried


The Minnesota Vikings opened their 2024 offseason program Monday, and they did so without arguably the most important player on the team: star wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Addressing reporters Monday, coach Kevin O’Connell admitted he’s unsure when Jefferson will report, while reiterating the communication he’s had with the All-Pro pass catcher.

“I’ve had a lot of great dialogue with Justin throughout even the early part of this offseason and leading up (to it),” O’Connell said, per KTSP. “My hope is we can get him around the team. Obviously (he’s) such a special player, but it goes beyond that this time of the year because of just the energy and flat-out way he comes and, when he’s in this building, goes to work. … I want him here as much as we can have him, but I also understand there’s a lot of factors involved. … He’s a special, special player.”

Jefferson’s absence is notable considering the wideout has yet to land a new long-term contract with the Vikings, despite being eligible for an extension this offseason. It also means almost nothing in the big picture of things. At least for now.

Jefferson, after all, did not attend the start of voluntary workouts in the 2023 offseason, only to report to mandatory minicamp and organized team activities (OTAs), as well as all of training camp, in the summer. He was also eligible for a new deal then. In other words, his presence or lack thereof at this spring’s programming — just like that of any other veteran on the roster — shouldn’t trigger any sirens regarding his future with the team unless/until it bleeds into mandated activities.

The star play-maker is technically under contract through 2024, due $19.7 million guaranteed under a fifth-year option on his rookie deal. Both he and the Vikings have expressed interest in striking an extension, and while the pass catcher could be waiting to see how Minnesota addresses the quarterback position — which is now devoid of longtime starter Kirk Cousins — before putting pen to paper, the Vikings are widely expected to add a quarterback early in April’s draft. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, meanwhile, has shown no inclination to consider a potential trade of the Pro Bowl wideout.

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