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After a highly effective 2022 campaign that saw the Minnesota Vikings finish 13-4 and win the NFC North, there was reason for optimism heading into 2023. But the Vikings stumbled out of the gate, and just when it looked like the season might turn around, quarterback Kirk Cousins tore his Achilles. He was out for the year. Cousins’s injury came three weeks after the Vikings lost star wide receiver Justin Jefferson to a hamstring injury. Jefferson ultimately missed seven games (and part of another with a chest injury), and the Vikings limped to a 7-10 finish.

During the offseason, Cousins signed with the Atlanta Falcons. His tenure in Minnesota is done, but Jefferson’s still got plenty of years left—the Vikings are making sure of it.

Jefferson and the Vikings agreed to a four-year, $140 million contract extension. The deal includes $110 million guaranteed and $88.743 million due at signing and will run through the 2028 season.

Justin Jefferson of the Minnesota Vikings

Justin Jefferson (Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)

The deal is historic for a couple of reasons. The $110 million in guaranteed money is the highest for a wide receiver, far surpassing the $84 million in guarantees that A.J. Brown received from the Philadelphia Eagles. And the $35 million in average annual value is the largest for any non-QB in NFL history.

We’re big fans of players betting on themselves and then having major success, and Jefferson certainly fits the bill. He was eligible for a contract extension before last season, but turned down an offer that would have paid him $28 million annually. He thought he could earn more—and he was right. The $35 million per year is an increase of 25% for the three-time Pro Bowler.

Jefferson shared the announcement on Instagram, writing, “Something that was once a dream is now my reality.”

The reality is that Jefferson is now the highest-paid non-quarterback ever. Now, he can focus on his next dream of winning a Super Bowl.

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