There’s No Slowing Down Justin Jefferson 

Vikings Place 2 Players on IR, Sign 2 New
Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports.

Few players have impacted the league from the get-go like Minnesota’s superstar wide receiver, and there’s no slowing down Justin Jefferson.

It took a couple of games for him to be entrusted with a starting role in his rookie season, but from that moment on, he has gone from strength to strength. Jefferson continues to amaze weekly, and the records keep tumbling.

There’s No Slowing Down Justin Jefferson

After three seasons of increased receiving yards to mind-boggling numbers over a season, you would be forgiven for wondering if there will be a regression at some point or at least a plateau. What does season four bring? Jefferson’s fastest start to a season yet, as he becomes the first person to open a season back-to-back 150+ receiving yards since Steve Smith Sr. in 2011.

Down Justin
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports.

Smith followed up 178-yard and 156-yard games with just 15 yards in Week 3 for the Panthers against the Jaguars. Jefferson hopes not to have such a dramatic drop-off against the LA Chargers next week. Smith finished the 2011 season with 1.394 receiving yards — Jefferson will be expected to beat that comfortably. The elusive 2,000-yard mark seems likely to come into conversations again, assuming he stays healthy throughout the season. He is on pace for 2,626 yards after two games.

The Records Are Set to Keep Coming

Jefferson might have lost his rookie receiving record to former LSU teammate Ja’Marr Chase, but Chase couldn’t keep up the pace in Year 2. The way Jefferson is playing, the only way he doesn’t keep setting the benchmark for receiving records by season and age would be injuries. On Thursday night, he passed 5,000 career receiving yards, joining Vikings legend and hall of famer Randy Moss as the only man to achieve that feat before turning 25.

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

Jefferson currently sits 262 yards behind Moss and 378 yards behind current New Orleans Saints WR Michael Thomas for most receiving yards in a player’s first four seasons. Again, without injury, that’s another record Jefferson is sure to get. At this point, it’s not just outstanding ability that Jefferson is showing. It’s also mind-blowing consistency.

Still Critics to Answer

Surprisingly, you will still find people criticizing Jefferson. One bad game and people say he can’t beat the best cornerbacks in the league. Eagles CB Darius Slay had plenty to say about Jefferson after keeping him quiet last season. Jefferson’s monster night on Thursday, per Pro Football Focus, included eight targets vs. Slay totaled seven receptions for 88 yards and six first downs. 

The number of touchdowns Jefferson has scored sometimes comes in for criticism. Through 52 games, Jefferson has 25 receiving touchdowns — not too shabby. Could a man of his talent have more? Sure, but part of what Jefferson brings to the team is the added attention in the red zone that frees up other players for a score – see KJ Osborn’s TD against the Eagles.

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Then you have the inevitable Moss comparison. Jefferson is not Moss. He doesn’t possess the freakish athleticism and speed that Moss did. It was over once the Super Freak got the ball in his hands and the chance to stretch his legs. That’s not Jefferson. Route running, consistency, and the ability to come down with the ball in tight situations make Jefferson great. Does that make him a lesser WR than Moss? People will have their opinions, but both are great, and Jefferson’s career is still in the early embers. 

Somehow, Jefferson continues to show he can get better. Where can he go from here? It’s going to be a fun ride finding out.