Jefferson Did Something Moss and Carter Couldn’t Do

The Minnesota Vikings employed two of the greatest wideouts in the history of the NFL. Cris Carter and Randy Moss are both Hall of Famers. The former is widely considered the greatest Vikings receiver ever. The latter is regarded as one of the, if not the single greatest, receivers in the sport ever.

Jefferson Did Something Moss
Randy Moss, Cris Carter, Randall Cunningham

Moss came into the league in 1998 and set the NFL on fire. He recorded 1,313 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns in his rookie year. In his first seven seasons with the Vikings, Moss gained 9,142 receiving yards and an absurd 90 receiving touchdowns.

Carter was a master of consistency. In his prime, the eight seasons from 1993 to 2000, Carter hauled in 779 passes for 9,456 yards and 90 scores. His hands are legendary. Drops were not on the menu of the all-time great. He holds every career-receiving record in Vikings franchise history.

Jefferson Did Something Moss and Carter Couldn’t Do

Moss is fourth all-time in receiving yards, while Carter is 13th. Their touchdown numbers are even crazier. Carter is fourth all-time with 130 receiving scores. Moss recorded 156, only trailing Jerry Rice.

Interestingly, neither Moss nor Carter led the league in receiving yards at the end of a season. It is a shocking fact, considering the dominance of the two stars.

Justin Jefferson Can Still Break Those Nifty Records
Dec 17, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Justin Jefferson became the first Viking to win the receiving title with his 1,809 yards in the 2022 season, the sixth most all-time in a single season. Tyreek Hill finished second in the league with 1,710 yards.

Jefferson has been a wonderful contributor since former GM Rick Spielman picked him in the first round of the 2020 draft. After a couple of games, Jefferson fully arrived in the league with a 175-yard performance against the Titans. He also added his first career receiving touchdown to his resume. A few yards before crossing the goalline, Jefferson hit his iconic ‘Griddy.’

Since the time of his draft, the former LSU alumnus has led the league in receiving yards by a wide margin. He has almost 400 more yards than Davante Adams and about 600 more than Tyreek Hill.

Jefferson’s rookie contract will expire after the 2023 season, but the Vikings have a fifth-year team option. However, contract talks should be starting soon. The wideout is the face of the franchise, maybe even the face of the league, so he should get a huge paycheck.

Nov 7, 2021; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) celebrates with wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports.

On Sunday, he will play in the first postseason game of his career, a big milestone for him. This year, Jefferson separated himself from the other receivers in the league in the eyes of many. He is an elite route runner, his hands are fantastic, he will fight for every possible yard after the catch, and he is regularly hauling in contested catches.

One part of his success is the connection he formed over the years with quarterback Kirk Cousins. The two 2022 Pro Bowlers are always on the same page and help out each other.

Jefferson has long become the focal point of the offense, an offense featuring Adam Thielen and Dalvin Cook. Opponents in the postseason will try to take away Jefferson, which is the best way to stop the Vikings. In three of the four losses of the season, Jefferson recorded 96 yards combined. The one exception was the loss in Detroit when he set the single-game franchise record with a fantastic 223-receiving-yard performance.

Besides leading the league in receiving yards, Jefferson set a few more milestones in 2022. He set the single-season records for most receiving yards and catches in franchise history, and no player in NFL history had more receiving yards in his first three career seasons.

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