Oddsmakers Big 2022 Plan for Justin Jefferson
Ja’Marr Chase from the Cincinnati Bengals is nipping at the heels of Minnesota Vikings wideout Justin Jefferson for production early in a player’s career.
Jefferson set the NFL rookie record for receiving yards in 2020, which was immediately bested by Chase, Jefferson’s teammate at LSU, in 2021. But Jefferson maintains the “most receiving yards through the first two years of a player’s career” for now, as Chase embarks on his second season in 2022.
And according to oddsmakers, Jefferson will stay out in front of the lofty receiving-yard pace. Per Fan Duel, Jefferson and Cooper Kupp from the Los Angeles Rams are the frontrunners to tally the most receiving yards in 2022. Jefferson and Cupp share a +900 moneyline to lead the NFL in the metric.
Jefferson accrued his astronomical count of receiving yards within a Mike Zimmer-led offense. In 2020 and 2021, the Vikings unabashedly advertised a run-first offense, so the feat by Jefferson is all the more commendable.
But the Zimmer era is kaput, ending on January 10th when the former coach and his boss, Rick Spielman, were terminated as Minnesota headed in a youthful direction. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O’Connell now lead the enterprise.
The addition of O’Connell should be music to Jefferson’s ears. He’s from the Sean McVay coaching tree, a fantastic topiary as of late. Zac Taylor (Bengals), Matt LaFleur (Packers), and Brandon Staley (Chargers) all descended from McVay gridiron lineage. So unless O’Connell is the one guy who falters, Jefferson and the Vikings should be in good shape.
Plus, Minnesota won’t rest on the run-first laurels anymore. The Rams assuredly didn’t do so in 2021. And it is unlikely that O’Connell would revert back to “run-first” with weapons like Kirk Cousins, Adam Thielen, Irv Smith Jr., K.J. Osborn, and of course, Jefferson on the roster.
Jefferson, 22, is already getting credible mentions as the league’s top wide receiver.
Couple that acclaim with a new offensive-minded head coach, a quarterback who slings 4,000+ yards per season like clockwork, and Jefferson’s natural maturational progression — and he, along with Cooper Kupp, are oddsmakers’ favorites to lead the business in receiving yards.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).