2020 was an interesting year for the Minnesota Vikings. While they ended with a very pedestrian 7-9 record, the season was anything budget mediocre for the purple. They flipped a 1-5 start to end up 6-6, then sort of fell apart at the end of the season when they clearly would’ve made the playoffs had they just won one more game.
All that aside, there were some bright spots for the Vikings as their offense looked really great for large parts of the season, especially after the emergence of rookie WR Justin Jefferson (who had the best rookie season of any modern WR).
With Adam Thielen having another stellar season, it’s safe to say that those of us in Minnesota considering Jefferson-Thielen to not only be the best 1-2 punch at the position in the league but also better than Diggs-Thielen.
Turns out, we’re right! At least according to our friends at Pro Football Focus.
They ranked Jefferson as the second best receiver in the NFL behind only Green Bay’s Davante Adams.
Sure, Jefferson was a first-round pick, but no one quite expected him to end up being the best-performing rookie of the 2020 class after Year 1. He finished the season with an elite 90.5 receiving grade that was just shy of the rookie record set by Odell Beckham Jr. in 2014 (91.2).
The most impressive aspect of his first year in the NFL ranks was his performance against single coverage, an area of concern for him coming out of LSU. But Jefferson generated more yards per target (13.2) than any other wideout in the league against single coverage this season.
Thielen didn’t separate at nearly the same rate we have seen from him in years past, but he was still one of the best receivers in the league. The Viking is known for his route-running and releases, and this year Thielen maintained a spot in the top five when it came to receiving grade against single coverage and against press coverage.
For the record? Diggs was right behind Jefferson as the third-ranked receiver. But, considering, this is the best news of the week!