Vikings WR Gets High Projections for Upcoming Season

Updates Adam
Jun 8, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell talks to wide receivers Adam Thielen (left) and Justin Jefferson. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Fantasy football is getting bigger every year. More and more players build their teams to compete for money or just to have fun. It also increases the interest in the sport outside of the favorite team, especially on game day.

Outside of playing fantasy football, the numbers are useful. Before every season, there are projections for the production of a player. PFF´s latest projections have one receiver of the Vikings really high, especially in terms of yards.

Vikings Receiver Leads League in Yards

Per PFF’s projections, Jefferson is expected to lead the league in receiving yards with 1,591.1 yards. That’s about 70 yards more than Cooper Kupp, who came close to breaking the single-season record last year, and 150 yards more than Ja’Marr Chase, who has a similar record-breaking start to his career as his college teammate, Jefferson. The numbers are always on the conservative side because missing a game for injury is always a possibility. In addition, high and almost record-breaking numbers are hard to predict as those seasons are rare.

In 2021, Jefferson’s 1,616 receiving yards only trailed Kupp’s 1,947. The yardage of the young former LSU receiver was the 21st highest in NFL history in a single season. It also was the second best in Vikings’ franchise history. Randy Moss had 16 more yards in 2003 in one fewer game. The former Detroit Lion Calvin Johnson Jr owns the single-season record in NFL history. He had 1,964 receiving yards in 2012.

Full Vikings 2022 Schedule Revealed
Sep 27, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Jefferson needs 1,148 yards to be the new record holder of the most receiving yards in a player’s first three seasons in the NFL. Currently, another former Vikings receiver has the record. Moss had an incredible start to his career after the Vikings selected him in the 1998 draft.

Adam Thielen slightly misses the 1,000-yard mark, as he is projected to gain 995 receiving yards. His injuries in recent years don’t help his projection. Irv Smith Jr gains 578 yards in the model. He missed the entire 2021 season but is expected to be back at 100% and can finally show what he can do as the unquestioned starter at tight end.

K.J. Osborn has 418 yards after recording 655 in his breakout year in 2021. That shows the conservative nature of the numbers. Dalvin Cook is expected to get more touches in the passing game. After recording just 224 receiving yards last season, the projections for the Vikings’ new receiver out of the backfield increase his yardage by about 50%, to 335 yards.

Receiving Touchdowns

Nov 7, 2021; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Thielen led the Vikings in receiving touchdowns in 2020 with 14 and was tied with Jefferson for the lead in 2021 with 10. Kupp led this category league-wide with 16. In the projections, Kupp leads with 11, and Jefferson is second with 10. Those two have established themselves as the top pass catchers in the NFL.

Thielen, meanwhile, has just 7.6 touchdowns in the model. A low number, considering his 24 touchdowns rank him third in the NFL over the last two seasons combined.

Kevin O’Connell is expected to implement a more pass-heavy offensive scheme, and therefore, fantasy owners of Vikings receivers should be happy. Not only should they be excited, but also most fans, as they wanted the team to pass more for years.

Cousins’ projections in the model are 4,484 passing yards, 30 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. An increase in passing yardage is plausible, and an increase in interceptions is likely because he took care of the ball extremely well last season. The decrease in touchdowns, however, is unlikely in a more pass-centric offense.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. He chose the Vikings as his favorite team, despite Christian Ponder being the quarterback at the time. 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