NFL Rumors: Vikings Eye Justin Jefferson, Danielle Hunter Contracts amid Cousins Buzz

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - JANUARY src7: Justin Jefferson #18 of the Minnesota Vikings runs the ball against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on January src7, 2src24 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

Nic Antaya/Getty Images

Quarterback Kirk Cousins isn’t the only player the Minnesota Vikings are hoping to bring back in 2024.

The Vikings are working on both an extension for wide receiver Justin Jefferson and a new contract for defensive end Danielle Hunter, according to ESPN’s Dan Graziano.

Neither project is expected to be easy, as both Jefferson and Hunter could be the top positional players on the market if they hit free agency, according to Graziano.

Jefferson, who missed seven full games due to a hamstring injury and was later limited by a chest injury, recorded a career-low 1,074 receiving yards for five touchdowns in 2023. It marked the first campaign of his career in which he wasn’t named to the Pro Bowl.

But the Vikings are expecting Jefferson to bounce back to the level that saw him lead the NFL with 128 receptions for 1,809 yards during his 2022 All-Pro season.

While Jefferson is set to cost the Vikings $19.7 million against the cap in the final year of his current deal in 2024, he is “certain” to earn more than $30 million per year on his next contract, according to Graziano.

Retaining Hunter, who signed a one-year, $17-million deal with the Vikings last season, will also be an expensive project. He racked up a career-high 16.5 sacks last season and will likely be one of the top available edge rushers if he is allowed to hit free agency.

According to ESPN’s Ian Fowler, Hunter’s next contract will cost “something well north of $20 million per year.”

According to Over the Cap, the Vikings currently have about $34.7 million in cap space heading into free agency. To achieve the team’s goal of running it back with the trio of Cousins, Jefferson and Hunter would require contract restructuring, roster cuts or trades in order to clear enough room.


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