Vikings GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has no interest in trading Justin Jefferson

INDIANAPOLIS — Given the chance, Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah gladly took the bait, dumping water on a rumor that has been spreading like wildfire.

He has no interest in trading star receiver Justin Jefferson. None. Any thought of that can seemingly be put to bed after his strong comments Tuesday at the NFL Combine.

“That is not something that’s once crossed my mind,” Adofo-Mensah said. “You’ve got a (blue-chip) player, a (blue-chip) person, and we try to keep as many of those as we can.”

The idea that the Vikings might be open to trading Jefferson surfaced last week without much warning. The aggregators got ahold of a few sentences of conjecture in a story and suddenly it was fact. Not long after that fake trade proposals started to pop up all over social media.

That’s why it was important for Adofo-Mensah to clear up his feelings on Jefferson in a public forum. Never mind that the Vikings have remained steadfast in their messaging throughout the negotiation process. There needed to be a statement refuting a claim that had quickly taken on a life of its own.

Now that Adofo-Mensah has done that, he can continue to work on actually signing Jefferson to a contract extension.

That has been the ultimate goal since the Vikings started the negotiation process last offseason. They tried to get something done after Year 3 of Jefferson’s rookie deal rather than wait until after Year 4. That doesn’t happen very often in the NFL, so maybe it shouldn’t come as a surprise that talks eventually hit an impasse.

“Those are very hard conversations to have,” Adofo-Mensah said. “We got unbelievably close.”

Truthfully, if the Vikings never opened the door last offseason, nobody would have much to say heading into this offseason. The perception is that the relationship was strained when both sides were unable to come to an agreement. The reality is that the negotiation process is often drawn out until the last moment.

“I think people forget that deals rarely happen after (Year 3). and there’s a reason for that,” Adofo-Mensah said. “We’ve said it, and we’ll continue to say it: We think he’s the best receiver in the league, and he should be compensated as such.”

Though he would love to already have the deal done, Adofo-Mensah noted that it often takes a deadline to spur action.

“That’s something that in my years on the job I’ve seen as the exact case,” Adofo-Mensah said. “They have their reasons for waiting. We have our reasons for wanting to do it sooner. Ultimately we’ve got to come together and figure out a way to meet in the middle.”

It certainly isn’t going to be cheap for the Vikings.

As of right now, Miami Dolphins receiver Tyreek Hill is the highest-paid receiver in the NFL, slotting in with an average annual value of $30 million.

It’s no secret that Jefferson wants to reset the market. He said in an appearance at the Super Bowl that he hopes “break the bank” whenever he signs his contract extension. The final numbers likely won’t come out until everything is signed, sealed and delivered.

“I promised them, and I will continue to promise them, that I will not talk about our negotiations,” Adofo-Mensah said. “I think this job should be done with integrity, so a lot of the stuff I hear is completely false, I can’t get up and here and say what’s true and false because that’s not how I promised to do this job.”

If that sounded like a reference to the rumor, it’s because it was a reference to the rumor.

“We’re excited to have him and continue those conversations,” Adofo-Mensah said. “He’s somebody we want around for a long time.”

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