Justin Jefferson Wants to Keep Streak Going

Justin Jefferson One
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Although the Minnesota Vikings find themselves winless through the first three weeks of the season, there has yet to be a team capable of stopping Justin Jefferson. That’s not exactly shocking, considering he is the best wide receiver in the NFL, but he’ll be looking to keep the good times rolling against the Carolina Panthers.

Justin Jefferson Wants to Keep Streak Going

Through the first three weeks of the season, Justin Jefferson has put up 150 yards in each game (yes, he was one shy last week). Much of the production he has shown thus far looks like a reused blueprint on a weekly basis. He has been targeted 13 times in the past two weeks after seeing 12 targets in the opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Jefferson has hauled in different numbers each week, but the total yards have remained consistent.

Keep Streak
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Against the Los Angeles Chargers, Jefferson found paydirt for the first time this season. Kirk Cousins has been given a few more options this year in the form of T.J. Hockenson and Jordan Addison, but that shouldn’t deter Jefferson from busting out The Griddy in the end zone, either. Whether he is breaking the plane or not, Jefferson has made the century mark look simple and has trended towards 200 yards in each game this season.

Last season, one in which Jefferson was tracking toward Detroit Lions superstar Calvin Johnson’s single-season record, the Vikings wideout never had more than three consecutive games in which he reached triple digits. He came out of his first trio by putting up 98 yards against the Arizona Cardinals, but the second trio saw him get shut down to the tune of only 15 yards against the Packers in Green Bay.

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The Carolina Panthers are also a winless team and may be most notable for rookie quarterback Bryce Young. Former Vikings wideout Adam Thielen is looking at the game as somewhat of a playoff atmosphere, and both teams need to find a way to win. That said, the Panthers have been stingy on the defensive side of the ball, especially through the air.

Having allowed just 577 yards on the season through the air thus far, Carolina’s total pass defense is the 8th lowest across the entire league. They have also only allowed two passing touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks and have sacked the opposition ten times. Atlanta Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts got them for 44 yards in Week 1, while New Orleans Saints youngster Chris Olave posted 86 yards in Week 2. Seattle Seahawks D.K. Metcalf’s 112 yards last week were the first and only time on the season that a player has broken triple digits against them.

For Jefferson to continue trending towards records this year and keeping up with the strong start, he doesn’t need to pop off for 150 yards every week. While he did post 200 yards once last season and got close two more times, the greater goal has to be getting rid of the stinkers. It’s okay for Minnesota if Jefferson isn’t the focal point in a game or two, but keeping him from being taken away altogether has to be the goal.

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You can bet that Thielen will look to show out against his former team. Expecting the Panthers to key in on Jefferson is a good bet, but that should allow both Addison and Hockenson the opportunity to make plays. If they can hurt the Panthers with their opportunities, Jefferson will find openings to make his presence felt.

Jefferson has never had four consecutive games with more than 100 yards in his career, but it could happen for the Vikings star on Sunday, and the hope would be that it propels them to a win.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.