The Minnesota Vikings’ knack for playing in close games finally caught up to them with Sunday’s wild card loss to the New York Giants.

All season long the Vikings turned to Justin Jefferson with the game in the balance. Unfortunately, quarterback Kirk Cousins checked down to tight end T.J. Hockenson on the team’s final offensive play, which ultimately put an end to Minnesota’s season.

Jefferson not only led the NFL in receptions and receiving yards, but he set franchise marks, surpassing Vikings greats Cris Carter and Randy Moss. After a record-setting season, Jefferson’s value has skyrocketed.

In order to keep Jefferson in Minnesota the Vikings are going to have to show him the money. After such a productive season, the Vikings will likely need to offer Jefferson an extension to keep their generational talent content.

“I will be wherever I’m wanted,” Jefferson told reporters. “If they want me here, I’m here. That’s not something that I can really control.”

Per Spotrac, Jefferson’s market value exceeds $26 million per year. The Vikings currently sit at $8 million over the cap, meaning the team will have to move some money around to lock Jefferson up long term.

At the end of the day, this makes for an easy decision for general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah. Jefferson’s true value cannot be quantified when considering how he draws defenders’ attention from other targets, making life easier on Cousins.

Though the loss is still fresh on the minds of Minnesota, Jefferson’s extension should be a priority as the 2023 offseason gets underway.

Featured image via Matt Krohn – USA TODAY Sports

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