Vikings

Mike Florio Doubles Down On Justin Jefferson Concern

Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea (USA TODAY Sports)

Days after suggesting Minnesota might have a problem with their superstar receiver Justin Jefferson, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio appeared for his weekly segment on Nine to Noon with Paul Allen on KFAN in Minneapolis.

The voice of the Vikings and popular radio host poked at Florio and asked him why he had to rile up the fan base. Florio quickly responded:

“The truth is that there is reason, anytime you have a player who sounds off and who expresses frustration about play calling or the lack of energy, to wonder if changes aren’t made will that player want to be part of that organization long-term?

Unlike at the college level where they get to pick where they go, you’re drafted to a team and you do have leverage, you do have options and there are ways to get what you want. We saw Stefon Diggs do it after he signed his big contract with Minnesota. Other players have done it over the years and I think that it’s prudent at this point to address what JJ is upset about…I think it’s foolish to slam the door on the possibility he may have a problem with one of your most important players…Smart thing to do is be aware of any potential threats to the long-term stability of the roster and to address the root cause and if changes need to be made, if they’re reasonable changes, then make those changes. Sticking your head in the sand or shouting down anyone who draws attention to those things is a bad play.

And I suspect the same people who are trying to shout me down right now would have said the same thing if I would have tried to sound the alarm about Stefon Diggs. This is the way it goes. We’re looking for the warning signs that suggest history may repeat itself and I think the last thing anyone connected to the Vikings would want is for Justin Jefferson to wake up one day and try to tweet his way out of town. So you intervene. That is my point and that is the truth.”

After what felt like a half hour lecture by Florio, Allenn tried to change the subject and a playful but contentious back-and-forth began. As the two men battled over the merits of Florio’s point Florio again pushed-in forcefully to say:

“The truth is there’s a warning sign there that needs to be addressed! There’s a red flag! Ignore it or you can deal with it. My point is when he puts the red flag up on the pole you better go deal with it because if you ignore it there’s going to be another red flag and another red flag and another red flag and before you know it he’s going to be gone. If you ignore signs of discontent in a star player that you want there for 10 years…” Florio then paused and plainly and simply stated “You need to address it.”

There’s probably truth on both sides here. Having a young superstar dissatisfied with a team’s performance is something to keep an eye on. But Jefferson’s frustration feels more linked to individual game performance as opposed to overall systemic problems. To Florio’s point it’s something to keep an eye on. To Allen’s Jefferson’s personality doesn’t merit the same concerns that other disgruntled stars have.

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Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea (USA TODAY Sports)

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