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Justin Jefferson absent from Vikings OTAs as team works on new deal with star WR, AP source says

Vikings to host Jets in London on Oct. 6
Vikings to host Jets in London on Oct. 6 00:19

MINNEAPOLIS — Amid a busy offseason, the Minnesota Vikings still have one major priority before the regular season starts in September: getting a deal done on a new contract with star wide receiver Justin Jefferson.

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."

Adofo-Mensah also said in February that trading Jefferson "is not something that's once crossed my mind."

"You got a blue chip player, a blue person, you try to keep as many of those as you can," he said.

Adofo-Mensah later added "a lot of the stuff I hear is completely false, but I can't get up here and tell you what's not true or not false because that's not how I promised to do this job."

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.

Jefferson is slated to be featured in Netflix's upcoming docuseries "Receiver," a follow-up to last summer's "Quarterback" that will follow five pass catchers through the 2023 season. 

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