NFL teams have until a week after the 2023 NFL Draft to decide whether or not to pick up the fifth-year option on players they took in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. In the case of the Minnesota Vikings, it wasn’t a question of whether they’d pick up Justin Jefferson’s option or not, but merely what took them so long to do so.
On Tuesday, the Vikings finally made it official, picking up Jefferson’s fifth-year option, a move that will ultimately be rendered moot when Jefferson signs the record-setting extension that is undoubtedly coming in the very near future.
The fifth-year option means that, for now, Justin’s salary for the 2024 season is a shade under $20 million ($19.743 million, if we’re being precise). Again, this number will look like a bargain compared to the numbers we’re going to see when the extension comes.
All Jefferson has done since being the 22nd overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft is set records, including records for catches and receiving yardage in a player’s first three NFL seasons. He’s going to be the centerpiece of this franchise for a very long time, and picking up the fifth-year option is a step in that direction, even if the deal does only serve as a placeholder for a larger deal.
This is the first time the Vikings have picked up the fifth-year option on a first-round pick since they did so for Trae Waynes, who was selected in the first round in 2015 and had his option picked up in early 2018. Since then, the Vikings have passed on the fifth-year options of Laquon Treadwell, Mike Hughes, and Garrett Bradbury, though they did sign Bradbury to a new deal after his rookie contract was up.
Congratulations to Justin Jefferson and the Vikings on picking up his fifth-year option, even if it was the easiest move this team was going to make all off-season.