Keyshawn Johnson’s Insult about Justin Jefferson Doesn’t Matter

July 27, 2012; Cortland, NY, USA; NFL former receiver Keyshawn Johnson talks with the media following the first day of New York Jets training camp at SUNY Cortland. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-US PRESSWIRE.

The Keyshawn, JWill & Max Show on ESPN is in its final days on the network. The show will reportedly be canceled and become no more before too long.

Prior to leaving for good, though, the show’s panel and former NFL WR Keyshawn Johnson, specifically, decided to fire off Top WR rankings for the 2023 season.

Keyshawn Johnson’s Insult about Justin Jefferson Doesn’t Matter

These were Johnson’s Top 5:

  1. Tyreek Hill
  2. Davante Adams
  3. Ja’Marr Chase
  4. Stefon Diggs
  5. A.J. Brown

And, yes, Justin Jefferson was missing from the fivesome. Of course, as the NFL calendar is in a deadzone, Jefferson’s exclusion sparked outrage among fans. Philosophically, the beef was righteous.

But here’s why it doesn’t matter.

Jefferson’s Numbers Aren’t Debatable

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.

It isn’t some sort of fringe assertion to plop Jefferson in the Top 5 WRs leaguewide. The man won the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year award in 2022. If Vikings fans were boisterously defending Adam Thielen a couple of years ago or someone like Jordan Addison in the present — this ‘debate’ would make sense.

But this is Justin Jefferson we’re talking about here.

He grabbed ‘The Catch of the Century’ last November in Buffalo — a phrase coined by ESPN via its ESPY award nominations. Jefferson owns the most receiving yards through a player’s first three seasons in NFL history, and the record is his by a mile. He’s respected out the wazoo.

Jefferson doesn’t need Keyshawn Johnson’s or some show’s approval. His resume doesn’t teeter on Top 5 classification over the last three seasons. He leads the business in receiving yards since the start of 2020.

Pretend you’re a New York Yankees fan who listened to a few dudes tell you that Aaron Judge isn’t one of baseball’s most prolific homerun hitters. Imagine Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith nodding as someone presented a Top 5 NBA Centers list with Nikola Jokić absent.

‘System’ Argument Makes No Sense

Insult about Justin
Oct 9, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) and quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) warm up before the game against the Chicago Bears at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Max Kellerman appeared to clean up the Johnson list, “I’d probably put Jefferson at four or five. Because he is so productive. You know, guys like Jefferson and Cooper Kupp, I agree with you, even if it’s the system or whatever else when they are in the right situation, they are going to get a million catches, a million yards, a million touchdowns.”

Suddenly, Jefferson is a product of the Vikings system.

Well, Jefferson’s system has undergone three different offensive coordinators in three years. And that’s on top of Kirk Cousins at quarterback. So, it’s either Jefferson is a driving force of aerial prosperity — or Cousins is the maestro. Of Jefferson and Cousins, who gets more scorn from fans and media on a daily basis? Exactly.

Jefferson’s exclusion from the Keyshawn, JWill & Max Show’s Top 5 WRs utterly lost all credibility when it nibbled at calling Jefferson a system WR.

Otherwise, Cousins is a kingmaker, and when was the last time ESPN said something like that?

Who Cares?

Former NFL star and ESPN host Keyshawn Johnson was an honoree at the 2022 Dick Vitale Gala in Sarasota, Fla. © Thomas Bender / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Why do Johnson’s rankings matter, on the whole? They do not.

Jefferson isn’t going to show up this September and remember that a retired NFL player ranked him at No. 6 or below. His production won’t dip to 800 receiving yards annually because Johnson was rude.

The Vikings playmaker has a documented body of work to clap back and any cockamamie ‘list’ or debate. Jefferson isn’t a firebrand who will take offense to Johnson’s slight. Neither should you.

Jefferson knows how good he is every Sunday. Fans know, too. A canceled radio show isn’t important. Nobody cares.

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