Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson was not surprised to see quarterback Kirk Cousins leave to join the Atlanta Falcons in free agency. And rightfully so after Minnesota made him the highest-paid non-quarterback in the league.

“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 different guys” Jefferson said on “The Rich Eisen Show.” “I felt like he just wanted a new start, a new opportunity to start with Atlanta, and a clean slate.”

So the focus now shifts towards quarterbacks Sam Darnold and J.J. McCarthy, the No. 10 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Darnold, 27, is heading into training camp as the Vikings’ starter, but McCarthy brings much higher expectations as a first-round pick.

Jefferson, whose locker is right next to McCarthy’s, has been helping the rookie quarterback when he can and says he aspires to be great.

“They want me to be that guy that J.J. can always talk to and ask questions,” Jefferson added. “He’s definitely that type of kid. He definitely wants to ask questions. He wants to learn how to be a top quarterback. He wants to learn how to become a problem in this league.”

McCarthy must first beat out Darnold this summer for the starting job, but all the 21-year-old has done in his football career is win.

Last season, the Michigan product threw for 2,991 yards, 22 touchdowns and just four interceptions while leading the Wolverines to a championship during his team’s College Football Playoff run.

Although Jefferson hopes McCarthy lives up to his aspirations, he is solely focused on doing his job and elevating the play of those around him.

“It’s on to the next,” Jefferson stated. “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 be the quarterback’s friend and make his job a lot easier. So, 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 them.”

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