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Vikings' Justin Jefferson attends minicamp, will be at training camp with or without new deal

Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson was back in uniform for Minnesota's mandatory minicamp on Tuesday after skipping voluntary organized team activities earlier this offseason.

Jefferson added he'll be back for training camp, as well, regardless of whether a new contract has been worked out with the Vikings or not.

"I had a lot of stuff going on," Jefferson told reporters regarding his absence from OTAs. "I mean they didn't really, you know, force (me) to come back too much. So, it didn't seem like I was missing too, too much. But they definitely wanted me back here. (I) wanted to be back here."

Jefferson, the reigning Associated Press NFL Offensive Player of the Year, is coming off a season where he became the youngest player in NFL history to lead the league in receptions (128) and receiving yards (1,809) at just 23, and he's in line for an extension that should reset the market at WR after the club picked up his fifth-year option in April.

According to Jefferson, though, the looming payday did not play "too much (of a) part" in his skipping the voluntary portion of Minnesota's offseason.

And as for if he plans to attend training camp should he not receive a new contract before then? "Oh, yeah. Yeah," Jefferson told reporters.

So, any consternation over him doing his own work away from the team in May and early June appears to be much ado about nothing.

The star wideout is chugging right along, serving as a valuable figure on a team that's looking to build on a surprising 13-4 season despite recently parting ways with key veterans like running back Dalvin Cook, wide receiver Adam Thielen, linebacker Eric Kendricks and pass rusher Za'Darius Smith.

"Yeah, I told him this morning, you can just tell when he's walking the halls in our building -- just the energy and the juice that he brings," head coach Kevin O'Connell said about the importance of Jefferson's presence, per the team transcript. "He was in great shape, moving around today like I expected him to be. Mentally still really sharp. I mean, we're quite a few installs in on formations and certain plays, and he was able to jump right back in there and really try to absorb some of the new things we're doing as well as his role, which is a pretty special one in our offense."

Wednesday will be the last day of on-field work the Vikings do as a group until training camps open at the end of July. Until then, there seems to be sunny skies ahead for Jefferson and the Vikes regardless of how negotiations transpire in the interim.

"I don't really see it as a cloud hanging over my head," Jefferson said. "At the end of the day, I'm still gonna be myself. Still gonna be playing the same way. The contract comes with the game."

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