Justin Jefferson Breaks Silence On Kirk Cousins' Departure

Los Angeles Chargers v Minnesota Vikings

Photo: Getty Images

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson broke his silence on longtime former quarterback Kirk Cousins' decision to sign with the Atlanta Falcons earlier in the offseason during an appearance on the Rich Eisen Show Tuesday (July 9).

Jefferson, 25, who recently signed a record-setting contract extension with the Vikings making him the highest-paid non-quarterback in NFL history, said he would've preferred Cousins returning to the Vikings but wouldn't demand it.

"I'm not mad at him at all for that," Jefferson said.

Cousins started at quarterback in 54 of Jefferson's 60 career NFL games during his first four seasons. The Vikings are reportedly expected to start veteran Sam Darnold and selected former University of Michigan standout J.J. McCarthy at No. 10 overall in the 2024 NFL Draft in April.

"I always knew that Kirk was going to do whatever he needs to do for his businesses-wise and I just knew that everything just wasn't the way he wanted it to be here, especially just with having to pay me and having to pay so many other different guys," Jefferson told Eisen. "I feel like he just wanted a new start, a new opportunity to start with Atlanta and a clean slate and I'm not mad at him at all for that. I'm grateful for what he has brought to me and the things that we have accomplished together.

"But at the end of the day, it's a business and you've got to do what you've got to do for yourself and for your family, and I clearly understand that. But it's on to the next. It doesn't really matter what quarterback it is in my eyes. I'm always going to try to make the best of the opportunity. I'm always going to try to be the quarterback's friend and make his job a lot easier. It doesn't matter if it was Kirk or if it's Sam or if it's J.J. I'm going to make it as easy as possible for him."

Jefferson, widely regarded as the NFL's best wide receiver, agreed to a record-setting four-year, $140 million contract extension, which includes $110 million guaranteed, sources with knowledge of the situation confirmed to ESPN's Adam Schefter last month. The former LSU standout has recorded more than 1,000 yards during each of his first NFL four seasons, which included 68 receptions for 1,074 yards and five touchdowns in 2023, despite appearing in just 10 games due to injuries.

Jefferson recorded an NFL-best 128 receptions for 1,809 yards (106.4 yards per game), as well as eight touchdowns in 2022, winning the Associated Press NFL Offensive Player of the Year award. The three-time Pro Bowler tied Pro Football Hall of Famer Lance Alworth's record as the fastest wide receiver to record 5,000 career yards (52 games) and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer and Vikings legend Randy Moss for the most 150-yard receiving games (nine) before turning 25 last season.

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content