Justin Jefferson Admits Tension Heading into TNF

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The Minnesota Vikings did not lose back-to-back games during head coach Kevin O’Connell’s first season in 2022, and that stat will be put to the almighty test on Thursday night.

Minnesota travels to Philadelphia for a date with the Eagles, six-point underdogs for their troubles at a stadium filled with purple horrors in Week 2 last year.

Justin Jefferson Admits Tension Heading into TNF

And when the Vikings offense takes the field, all eyes will be on a couple of items. Foremost, Minnesota lost in Week 1 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers because it turned the ball over thrice while forcing no takeaways. Also, reigning Offensive Player of the Year Justin Jefferson gets another crack at Eagles CB Darius Slay.

Somebody Was Out
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To sweeten the pot, Jefferson acknowledged “tension” between the two on Tuesday. Jefferson registered 6 receptions for 48 yards against the Eagles last season, a menial statline for Jefferson but decent showing for most wide receivers.

On the matchup, Jefferson opined, “It’s always going to be a great battle with the top corners in the league. I’m always excited to have those type of matchups. But definitely we have some things we’ve got to get back at them on. Having the loss last year, not having those plays we wanted last year. There’s definitely some tension going into the game.”

Admits Tension
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Jefferson torched the Buccaneers secondary on Sunday — for two quarters. The phenom playmaker picked up in 2023 where he left off in 2022, slicing and dicing Tampa Bay for 9 catches and 150 yards. But the Buccaneers appeared to get the memo at halftime and clamped Jefferson, for the most part, in Quarters 3 and 4.

“I’ll always try to prove to them and the rest of this team that I’m always going to be out there giving it my 100 percent. Whenever the ball is coming my way, I’m making the most of those opportunities. It’s all up to them when they want to throw me the ball or when they want to add me into the plan. My mindset is the same as always,” Jefferson added about his readiness against the Eagles on Thursday Night Football.

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The Eagles defense, like last year, won’t be an easy task for the Vikings. Up front, Philadelphia’s defensive trenches are probably the best in football, pound for pound. The San Francisco 49ers might disagree. But on the back end of Sean Desai’s defense, the depth is a little suspect, especially because cornerback James Bradbery and safety Reed Blankenship will be out due to injury. Jefferson will have the chance to feast if he can get the best of Slay, a tall order.

The Vikings and Eagles have split their last four meetings, including the infamous 2017 NFC Championship, where Philadelphia prevented Minnesota from hosting a home Super Bowl.

Former Vikings linebacker Christian Elliss is also expected to make his first career start after Nakobe Deban hit injured reserve this week.

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 Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.