Justin Jefferson Continues All-Time Pace
It’s nothing new that Justin Jefferson is putting up incredible yardage numbers. He has done so since coming into the league in the 2020 draft and is leading the league in that category since he joined the Vikings — by over 500 yards.
Jefferson entered the contest with the New York Giants in position to break the all-time single-season record for receiving yards, and even the 2,000 yards were possible.
The first record to fall, however, was the single-season Vikings record. That one was previously held by Randy Moss, who set the mark in the 2003 season. Unlike that season, the 2022 Vikings are playoff bound after winning the NFC North.
Jefferson needed to get 10 yards to top Moss’ mark and did that with his second catch of the day. The single-season record for most receptions in Vikings franchise history was also in play. He needed 12 catches for that.
Justin Jefferson Continues All-Time Pace
The Giants had to deal with significant injuries in their pass defense, as top cornerback Adoree Jackson missed the game because of a knee injury. Jefferson is in excellent shape and is currently unstoppable, even by top cornerbacks. Stephon Gilmore had no chance to stay with the wideout and got poorly beaten just one week before the matchup with the Giants.
As expected, Jefferson had a strong game and put on a show for his fans in the last home game of the regular season. His final stat line showed 12 catches for 133 yards and a touchdown. He put himself in the single-season Vikings record book for receiving yards and receptions.
Jefferson has been invincible in the 2022 season. His route running is perfect. He doesn’t drop passes, pulls off amazing circus catches, and is elite at getting extra yardage after the catch. The Vikings have one of the elite players in the league on their roster. The wideout is currently leading the league in receiving yards by 124 yards. The closest is Dolphins receiver Tyreek Hill.
Despite putting up all-time franchise numbers, Jefferson is not satisfied. He is trying to sneak into the NFL record books. The LSU alumnus needs 209 more yards to break the single-season record set by Calvin Johnson in 2012. Johnson, the former Detroit Lions star and Hall of Famer, had 1,964 yards that year. Cooper Kupp came close last season when he recorded 1,947 yards. Jefferson’s 1,756 yards already rank him seventh in a single season ever. Like Kupp last year, he has the advantage of having another game to play since the NFL implemented an additional 17th game.
Jefferson could shut down any asterisk talk if he records the 209 yards in the next game, which takes place in Lambeau Fields against the Packers. In Week 1 against the Packers, Jefferson managed to gain 184 receiving yards, so it’s not an outlandish task. The Vikings record for most receiving yards against the Packers was set by Adam Thielen, who had 202 yards in 2016.
Another mark that is in play is the 2,000-yard number. No player ever recorded that many receiving yards. Jefferson is 244 yards short, so he would need 122 yards per game in the final two contests. His average yards per game is 117.1 in the 2022 campaign.
Head coach Kevin O’Connell said “Jefferson is one of those guys that would fight him” if he would want to rest him, so there’s a good chance that Jefferson could get all the opportunities he needs. He will also most likely get the support of his teammates, who will try to force the ball in his direction. He’ll have a lot of targets in the upcoming two games, and it will give the Vikings fans something to watch.
The team still has an outside chance to win the number one spot in the NFC. That would happen if the Eagles lose both games and the Vikings win out. However, the Vikings could also be usurped by the 49ers in the standings if the 49ers win more games than the Vikings in the next two weeks.
If Jefferson passes the 2,000 yards, he could have a shot to become the first wideout in NFL history to win the MVP award. The Offensive Player of the Year trophy is also in play.
Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt
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