Where do things stand with Vikings, Justin Jefferson?

The Vikings and receiver Justin Jefferson currently do not have a long-term deal in place. It has been a long, slow process, with plenty of twists and turns.

There are three key external events that could become practical deadlines for getting something done: (1) the mandatory minicamp, which opens Tuesday; (2) the start of training camp in late June; and (3) the start of the regular season.

Obviously, the sooner a deal is finalized, the better prepared Jefferson will be for the 2024 season. With a new quarterback in place, the Vikings need that. And, given the basic reality that waiting will NEVER make it cheaper, it makes sense to do it now.

Even if it happens as soon as today or tomorrow, that doesn't mean the Vikings didn't explore their options. They easily could have traded him, to any of multiple teams. And, even though some seem to be throwing a bit of a tantrum over it, too many people have heard about an effort by the Vikings to trade up to No. 5 in the draft to get Malik Nabers to be ignored.

Once the window closed on the possibility of acquiring Nabers and then presumably trading Jefferson, the team's only move was to deny that it was ever a possibility. Those who rely directly on the team for access, cooperation, and spoon-fed scoops would be wise to toe with the party line. Again, the only real journalism that ever happens in this space (as Jay Glazer told me years ago) is finding out the stuff they don't want us to know.

Regardless of whether the Vikings tried to get Nabers, they've got Jefferson. They seem to be coming to terms with what it will cost to keep him. Money and structure are the key factors. Time will tell whether it happens this week, next month, or just before Week 1, when the Vikings becomes the first NFL team to face Nabers.

Our guess is that it will be sooner than Week 1. And sooner than the start of camp. And as soon as, frankly, tomorrow.