Minnesota Vikings’ Justin Jefferson: ‘I’ll Be the Best Receiver in the NFL’ After 2022 Season

by Nick Geddes

You could make a sensible argument that the Minnesota Vikings’ Justin Jefferson is the best receiver in the NFL.

He’s been that good through his first two seasons in the league. And although he would tell you that the Las Vegas Raiders’ Davante Adams wears that crown currently, make no bones about it: Jefferson is coming for that top spot. Just check back in after the conclusion of the 2022 season.

“I’ll say after this year I’ll be the best receiver in the NFL,” Jefferson recently told Kameron Hay of Complex. “I definitely have to give it to Davante Adams as of now, him being so crazy and dynamic on the field. His route running is crazy, so I definitely have to give it to him right now, but I’m pretty sure after this year, it’s going to be me.”

Jefferson, 23, has been on a record-setting pace since being drafted 22nd overall in the 2020 NFL Draft out of LSU. His 3,016 receiving yards are the most all-time for a player in their first two seasons.

Justin Jefferson – if You Could Believe it – Could Be Even Better in 2022

Jefferson’s record-setting production came in an offense that sometimes imitated what you’d see in 1980s NFL: a system predicated on pounding the rock. That figures to change this season with Mike Zimmer out and Kevin O’Connell in. O’Connell takes on his first-career head coaching gig after serving as the Los Angeles Rams’ offensive coordinator the past two seasons.

O’Connell oversaw an offense that ranked ninth in 2021 and finished it off with a Super Bowl title. Perhaps Jefferson won’t topple his 1,616-yard campaign, but a year in O’Connell’s system should give him a chance to get close.

“It’s definitely tough to outdo 1,600 yards,” Jefferson said. “It’s not normal for people to get that many yards consistently, back-to-back like that. Really just working on my weaknesses that I felt that I had throughout the season, always working on my game. I’m always working on route running, always can work on catching the ball, so just trying to better my craft at all of those different categories.

“And with this new offense with coach O’Connell, all of us are excited about this new playbook and hopefully we have a better season this year.”