Minnesota Vikings WR Justin Jefferson focused on being the best, not contract extension

If Justin Jefferson stays on the pace he set during his first two seasons, his next deal could reset a wide-receiver market that exploded in the offseason. Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

EAGAN, Minn. -- Minnesota Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson has amassed more receiving yards than anyone else in NFL history during the first two years of a career. He'll be eligible for a contract extension next spring. Wednesday, he made clear he is not sweating it.

"I'll focus on [my] contract after the season," Jefferson said as the Vikings held their first training camp practice. "The main thing is reaching to that goal, but I'm not really too fond of money. I'm really just trying to get to that goal of being the best receiver."

Interviews on the first day of training camp usually follow a familiar pattern of bland optimism. That playbook was written long ago. Coaches and players are happy to be back on the field. No one wants to create a headline on Day 1. A second question to Jefferson was required, to make sure he was heard correctly.

"You're not fond of money?"

"Nah," Jefferson said.

Jefferson might have some different ideas next spring, when the Vikings presumably will approach him with an offer that would lock him up two years before the expiration of his rookie contract. But for now, his philosophy will be received well inside the Vikings' offices after the value of receiving contracts exploded this offseason.

The Miami Dolphins' Tyreek Hill ($30 million) and the Las Vegas Raiders' Davante Adams ($28 million) both exceeded the previous record for annual average in their new deals. There are 12 receivers whose deals average at least $20 million per year, and nine of those agreements were reached in 2022. That surge was great news for Jefferson, whose 3,016 receiving yards since the start of the 2020 season are more than any of them.

Jefferson said earlier this summer that he considered Adams the best receiver in the game but predicted he would overtake Adams for that title by the end of the 2022 season. Wednesday, he reaffirmed that plan.

"I'm not labeled as the best receiver at this point," he said. "So that's my motivation, just becoming the best receiver and being the best teammate for my team. Just doing stuff to provide for my team and just trying to get to my main goal."

Which, for the time being at least, is not related to money.