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Justin Jefferson is doing things for the Minnesota Vikings that even Randy Moss and Cris Carter never did. The undrafted rookie wide receiver has been making plays all season long, and he’s just getting started.
The Minnesota Vikings are still looking for their first Super Bowl victory, but they have a long history of big-play wide outs. The team has had a long history of prominent names on the perimeter, dating back to John Gilliam in the early 1970s.
Sammy White is a character in the film Sammy White. Rashad, Ahmad. Randy Moss and Cris Carter, possibly the two best pass catchers in franchise history.
For the last several seasons, Adam Thielen has been the major guy in Minnesota. None of them, though, have achieved what Justin Jefferson, the Vikings’ newest receiving sensation, has in the last month.
Jefferson keeps rewriting the record books for the Vikings and the NFL.
Getty Images/Stephen Maturen/Justin Jefferson
The second-year LSU receiver, who broke into the national limelight by collecting touchdowns from Joe Burrow and leading his team to a national title in 2020, has just achieved something that none of his predecessors in Minneapolis had ever done.
Jefferson has 577 receiving yards in four games from Weeks 10 to 13, the highest by any Vikings receiver in a four-game period. Sidney Rice set the previous mark with a 553-yard four-game streak in 2009 as the Vikings got to the NFC Championship Game. Carter had held the record with a 537-yard run in four games during the 1999 season.
Jefferson joined Moss and former New York Giants out (and current Los Angeles Ram) Odell Beckham Jr. as the only wide receivers in NFL history to record 1,250 receiving yards in each of his first two seasons on Thursday night.
Jefferson continued outdoing himself over a four-game streak that established a new record.
Jefferson’s four-game winning streak started in Week 10 with a 27-20 win against the Los Angeles Chargers. Jefferson had nine receptions for 143 yards after quarterback Kirk Cousins targeted him 11 times. That was his single-game yardage high for the season, but it didn’t last long.
The following week, in a pivotal 34-31 victory against the Green Bay Packers, Jefferson put up his best game of his career, establishing a personal single-game record with 169 yards receiving on nine receptions. Jefferson scored two touchdowns in a game for the third time in his career.
That single-game record, however, was short-lived. With his 11-182-1 performance against the Detroit Lions, Jefferson set a new bar for himself after a somewhat ordinary 4-83 line against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 12. Jefferson re-established career highs in catches and yards.
However, Jefferson’s ultimate objective is to assist the Vikings in making the playoffs.
In the 1998 season, Moss’ outstanding rookie season helped propel the Vikings to the NFC Championship Game. It’ll be interesting to see whether Jefferson can have the same effect on the Vikings now that Thielen is out with an ankle injury.
Despite his incredible individual performance, Jefferson backed up his words by hauling in the Vikings’ first touchdown in a 36-28 victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night, after sounding the alarm after the devastating last-second defeat to the previously winless Lions last Sunday. With seven catches, Jefferson led the club in receiving yards and added 79 to his season total.
“Whenever the ball is thrown my way, I want to make as many plays as I can,” Jefferson told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “Plus, I like being the offense’s momentum-changer.”
Jefferson wiped Moss’ name off the Vikings’ record books last season, establishing rookie records with 88 receptions and 1,400 yards. Through 12 games this season, he has 85 catches for 1,288 yards, putting him only 68 yards short of Beckham’s record of 2,755 receiving yards in his first two seasons.
Cousins told the Pioneer Press, “He’s not a big man necessarily, but he plays big with long arms and a large grab radius.” “He sprints so good, cuts so well, and he’s fantastic racing away from guys after the catch.” He’s a natural when it comes to locating the football.”
Pro Football Reference provided the statistics.
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