Justin Jefferson Is Projected to Make More History

Jan 15, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) looks on during warmups before a wild card game against the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Only great players are good enough to be part of the history books, and Justin Jefferson is one of them. The receiver fired up 4,825 yards in his first three seasons. No other player in NFL history had more than that. He would have easily gotten that record even without the two extra games because of the 17-game season.

Justin Jefferson Is Projected to Make More History

He also broke the franchise record for single-season receiving yards and receptions while leading the NFL in both categories as the youngest player ever, breaking an 86-year-old record set by Packers Hall of Famer Don Hutson. In addition to that, he is the all-time leader in receiving yards per game.

Justin Jefferson Is Projected to Make More History
Nov 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) in action during the game against the New England Patriots at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

All of that led to the win of the Offensive Player of the Year trophy, and Jefferson was also a finalist for MVP, the only non-quarterback of the group.

Adam Schein from NFL.com gave his readers nine bold predictions for the upcoming season, and Jefferson setting a record and breaking a barrier was part of it.

No wide receiver has ever hit 2K. Calvin Johnson’s come the closest, posting an NFL-record 1,964 yards in 2012. Nine years later, Cooper Kupp reached 1,947 yards. In 2023, Jefferson makes history.

Shoot, it’s just the natural progression of Jefferson’s NFL production, from 1,400 yards in Year 1 to 1,616 yards in Year 2 to 1,809 yards last season. To reach 2,000, he needs to average just under 118 yards over 17 games. Jefferson is the kind of unstoppable force who can make that happen, especially in Year 2 of Kevin O’Connell’s offense. And his new WR running mate in Jordan Addison — Minnesota’s first-round pick in April — will help the cause by commanding more attention than the Vikings’ complementary targets last season.

The Griddy will be on full display in 2023, with No. 18 dancing his way into the record books.

Adam Schein, NFL.com

Jefferson was on 2k-watch late in the 2022 season, but his 15-yard performance against cornerback Jaire Alexander and the Packers in Week 17 ended that. Regardless, Jefferson had a wonderful season. He’ll have another chance to break the record in the upcoming campaign.

prediction for jordan
Apr 27, 2023; Kansas City, MO, USA; USC wide receiver Jordan Addison on stage after being selected by the Minnesota Vikings twenty-third overall in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft at Union Station. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Jordan Addison is supposed to help him. One problem in 2022 was his lack of support from his teammates on the outside. Only tight end T.J. Hockenson was consistently able to take advantage of the double teams the star receiver had to go up against, while Adam Thielen and K.J. Osborn occasionally struggled to get separation.

That’s where Addison, who is an outstanding route runner, is great at getting that necessary separation. If he can translate that from his time in college to the professional league, he will transform the Vikings’ offense.

Kirk Cousins will be Jefferson’s passer for at least one more season. The duo has an outstanding connection. It is a mystery who will be the QB in 2024 and beyond.

Dec 17, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) celebrates the win against the Indianapolis Colts after the game at U.S. Bank Stadium. With the win, the Minnesota Vikings clinched the NFC North. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Jefferson is eligible to sign a contract extension in the 2023 offseason, and it is certainly at the top of Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s to-do list. The top market deal is Tyreek Hill’s average annual salary of $30 million, trailed by Davanate Adams and his $28 million salary. Both of them are closer to the end of their careers, while Jefferson is still only 23 years old and has added roughly 200 yards to his season total in the last two seasons.

He still appears to get better. Jefferson entered last season with some questions about his ability to come down with contested catches. Just one year later, he is one of the top guys in that discipline and had arguably the best catch ever against the Bills.

The young wideout is undoubtedly worth a huge extension, and he is in a position to reset the wideout market. Nobody will complain about a huge salary. He’s just that good and earned every penny.

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