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Vikings seek new deal with Justin Jefferson; star WR absent so far from workouts, AP source says


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Vikings have one major piece of roster management remaining on their agenda before the regular season: signing superstar wide receiver Justin Jefferson to a contract extension.

Without a new deal in place, Jefferson was absent on Monday when the Vikings held their first of 10 allowable organized team activities, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the club was not making details public. Tuesday's on-field drills were scheduled to be open to reporters.

The Vikings are still in the voluntary phase of the spring sessions, so Jefferson is not obligated to be in the building. Only minicamp from June 4-6 is mandatory.

Jefferson, the 2022 NFL Offensive Player of the Year whose 5,899 receiving yards are the most in league history through a player's first four seasons, also chose last year to work out away from team headquarters during the offseason. He took part in minicamp and was full go for training camp despite the lack of a new deal after negotiations between the Vikings and his agency began last spring.

Progress was made, and general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah said later the two sides got “unbelievably close,” but talks were tabled once the regular season arrived. There was little urgency then, but now Jefferson has entered the final year of his rookie deal.

Adofo-Mensah said last month that negotiations were ongoing with “great dialogue” between the two sides. They paused talks so both the agency, William Morris Endeavor, and the team could focus on preparations for the NFL draft.

“We have our process, and either way, whenever we sign him, we want Justin to have his whole week. You know that friend that has a birthday that takes the month? I think Justin would deserve his whole month if we signed a contract, to celebrate it,” Adofo-Mensah said. “So you know, we’re excited to work toward it. We’re going to keep going. You can’t have all these plans where you talk about all these visions and not talk about the king linchpin, so we’re going to keep working toward that end goal.”

Amon-Ra St. Brown and the Detroit Lions struck the latest big-money deal for a wide receiver last month with a contract worth about $120 million over four years with $77 million guaranteed. That same week, the Philadelphia Eagles reached a $96 million extension with receiver A.J. Brown with $84 million guaranteed that set a new high for the position. Brown's annual average value of $32 million is also the league leader for receivers, according to figures compiled by Over The Cap.


AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL