Which Records Can Justin Jefferson Break in 2022?

Sep 26, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) catches a pass for a touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks defensive back D.J. Reed (2) in the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Jefferson started his NFL career on a hall of fame level. He came into the league and instantly was one of the elite receivers in the game. In his second season, he confirmed his elite status. Because of his hot start, the Vikings fan-favorite Jefferson is breaking all kinds of records. In his rookie campaign, he set the league record for the most receiving yards by a rookie since the merger in 1970 with 1,400 yards. His former college teammate Ja’Marr Chase broke it just one year later, in 2021.

In the same season, meanwhile, the Vikings star Jefferson broke his next record and didn’t have to be sad about losing the rookie milestone. He has the most receiving yards in a player’s first two seasons in the NFL with 3,016 yards. Odell Beckham Jr held the previous record. However, Jefferson didn’t just break the record of his fellow LSU alumni. He shattered it, as he had 261 more yards. The following records are already waiting for the dynamic receiver.

Most Yards in First Three Seasons

After his first two seasons were unparalleled, he can achieve the most receiving yards in the first three seasons as well.

  • current record: Randy Moss – 4,163 yards
  • Jefferson currently – 3,016 yards
  • difference – 1,147 yards

Jefferson started his career with 1,400 yards and continued with 1,616 yards. To get 1,147 yards is easily doable for the superstar if he can stay healthy.

Vikings Single Season Yard-Record

Last year Jefferson missed the record, despite playing an additional 17th game. This year, he’ll get another chance.

Moss’ season ranks 19th in NFL history, while Jefferson’s mark is 21st. He has a real shot at breaking Moss’ record and placing himself a lot higher on the list. The Vikings will throw more in the next season under coach O’Connell, and the top receiver will benefit from it as well.

Most Receptions in First 3 Seasons

Justin Jefferson
Aug 18, 2020; Eagan, Minnesota, United States; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

In franchise history, Jefferson ranks fourth with 196, only trailing Moss’ 226, Harvin’s 218, and Diggs’ 200. Despite having fewer games, he’ll break the record early in the 2022 season with his 31st reception of the season.

Since coming into the league, Jefferson has the seventh most catches in the NFL. The former Packer, Davante Adams, leads the category with 238. He also trails Kupp, Diggs, Allen, Hill, and Kelce.

For the most receptions in the first three seasons league-wide, he needs some magic to happen, as the New Orleans Saint Michael Thomas leads that stat with 321 catches. Jefferson needs 125 receptions to tie the record. Only eight seasons of receivers had more receptions so far in NFL history.

If Jefferson can get those 125 receptions, he would simultaneously break the franchise record for most catches in a single season, set by the Hall of Famer Cris Carter in 1994 with 122. Carter repeated the number in 1995.

This amount of catches is possible if the Vikings’ star receiver gets more involved in short passes. Cooper Kupp, the top wideout in O’Connell’s Rams offense, recorded 145 catches in 2021.

Receiving Yards Per Game

The NFL record for the most receiving yards per game is held by Julio Jones with 91.9. The dynamic playmaker of the Vikings is already second on the list with 91.4. Even if Jefferson can’t improve his number, Jones’ will likely decrease as his level of play has declined in age. Jones is still a free agent. If the Vikings want, they could sign him and have the two leaders in that category on the same team.

Interesting is also the impressive gap between the two receivers to everyone else in the history of the league. Between Jones and Jefferson, the gap is only 0.5 yards. However, the third on the list, Calvin Johnson Jr, is 5.3 yards behind Jefferson. Chase is fourth with another 0.5 yards behind Johnson.

Single-Season Receiving Yards

Calvin Johnson is not only near the top in yards per game but also at the top of a different list. He has the most receiving yards in a single season in NFL history. In 2012, he broke Jerry Rice’s record when he recorded incredible 1,964 yards. Cooper Kupp in 2021 and Julio Jones in 2015 barely missed the record. Jefferson needs exactly 115.5 receiving yards per game to tie the record. Johnson had 122.8 yards per game, but the additional 17th game provides help for Jefferson.

Most Receiving Yards in a Game

This record is an often requested trivia answer, so keep the name Flipper Anderson in mind. The Los Angeles Ram recorded 336 receiving yards in 1989 against the Saints. His quarterback, Jim Everett, had 454 passing yards. Fifteen of his 29 completions went to Anderson, as well as his only touchdown in that game.

The closest to that number came once again, Calvin Johnson Jr. The former Detroit Lions receiver recorded an unbelievable 329 receiving yards in 2013 against the Dallas Cowboys. His stats looked almost the same as Anderson’s. He also caught the only touchdown pass of his quarterback, Stafford, but didn’t have 15 but 14 receptions.

Jefferson’s single-game high is 182 yards against the Detroit Lions. It is doubtful that this record will be broken anytime soon. It has to be a perfect game. The opponent can not stop the receiver, even if he’s double or triple-teamed, and the game script requires a lot of passes.

Jefferson could eye the Vikings record, set by Sammy White in 1976 when he had 210 receiving yards against the Detroit Lions.

Jefferson´s Lack of Touchdowns

The Vikings’ star receiver is not known for his touchdowns. He collected 17 in his first two seasons combined. The low number in comparison to his yards is easily explained, as Adam Thielen is one of the elite red-zone threats in the league and gets a lot of targets there. In addition to that, Jefferson has another teammate who steals his opportunities, running back Dalvin Cook.

Randy Moss has the most receiving touchdowns in a player’s first three seasons with 43. If Jefferson wants to break that mark, he needs 27 touchdowns in 17 games which is impossible. However, if the Vikings’ star somehow gets that amount of touchdowns, Jefferson would break another record of the great Moss, the single-season receiving TD record. The former Viking recorded 23 touchdowns in his first season with the New England Patriots in 2007.

The Vikings franchise-best is 17, set by Cris Carter in 1995 and tied by Randy Moss in 1998 and 2003.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who has a fable for 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 and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Arguing about the Vikings on Twitter is one of his favorite things to do. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt