What Is a Successful Season for Justin Jefferson?

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

On Sunday, when the Minnesota Vikings take the field against the Las Vegas Raiders, they will do so utilizing the services of Justin Jefferson for the first time since Week 5. Obviously, his season isn’t going to finish with the same numbers as 2022, but what makes 2023 successful?

What Is a Successful Season for Justin Jefferson?

It has been more than a few weeks since Justin Jefferson was active for the Minnesota Vikings. After suffering a hamstring injury in a home loss against the Kansas City Chiefs, Jefferson found himself on injured reserve. He has since watched as Minnesota lost their quarterback, and they may be in the midst of another switch when he does ultimately take the field.

a successful season
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Who Jefferson is catching passes from is important, but how they get him the ball and how quickly they develop a rapport are even more critical. Whether it is Josh Dobbs, Nick Mullens, or Jaren Hall under center, figuring out a way to have the offense immediately flow through the star wide receiver is a must.

Jordan Addison, Brandon Powell, and T.J. Hockenson have stepped up in his absence. It remains likely that the trio will continue to see a significant level of usage, but their opportunities should be expected to slip some. Making sure to capitalize on each chance given to them is a must, and utilizing some of the breathing room provided by Jefferson’s presence would be ideal.

Jefferson returns to a stat line that includes 571 yards on 36 receptions. He was targeted 53 times through the first five games of the season and has always shown very well when paired with Kirk Cousins. It has been Addison who has found the end zone most often among receivers this season. Jefferson has scored three times on his own, and his 15.9 yards per reception represent a career-best.

Have Pretty Simple
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

Knowing that Jefferson isn’t going to threaten the 2,000-yard mark this season is fine, but if he can blow by 1,000 yards, everyone involved would need to be happy. Assuming he is eased back in for the first week, he’ll have four more games to establish himself. Needing just over 400 yards to surpass 1,000 yards on the season, he would top that plateau for the fourth straight season.

Since coming into the league, Jefferson quickly emerged as among the best wide receivers across the sport. Although this season has seen him miss a significant amount of time, the ability to put up gaudy numbers on the field is a constant. Jefferson started the year with three straight games topping the century mark, and he nearly cleared 150 yards in all of them as well.

The Vikings’ schedule presents plenty of opportunity for Jefferson to make hay the rest of the way, and they will need him to if the playoffs are going to be a reality. Although the talented wideout will get paid handsomely regardless, putting up some spectacular performances in the coming weeks wouldn’t hurt whatever arguments his representation wants to make in the form of negotiating dollars.

Justin Jefferson Taking
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

When the former LSU Tiger went down, it seemed as though Minnesota’s season was trending in a very negative direction. Kevin O’Connell’s team has experienced a ton of adversity this year, but they have continued to rise above it. Jefferson’s return and being immediately part of that cause is something everyone can get behind.

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.