Justin Jefferson Insulted Twice in the Same Week

Justin Jefferson Has Made His Case. For Now.
Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports.

You can tell it’s the offseason dry spell when Justin Jefferson’s talent is discredited twice in one week.

Nobody knows why, but the NFL calendar rolled to the final week of June, and it became hunting season on the reigning Offensive Player of the Year’s reputation.

Justin Jefferson Insulted Twice in the Same Week

The most recent addition of confusing Jefferson musings was born on The Pat McAfee Show. The panel discussed Dalvin Cook’s free agency — a popular topic after the Vikings released Cook on June 9th — and decided to take a backhanded shot at Jefferson for some reason.

Justin Jefferson insulted
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

McAfee explained that Cook was still very much an elite football player and handed him most of the credit for Minnesota’s 2022 offensive performance. McAfee said, “Dalvin Cook was their offense, like the reason why I think Justin Jefferson has all the things is because Dalvin Cook is in the backfield.”

Cook rushed for 4.4 yards per carry a season ago, the lowest output of his six-year career.

about Dalvin Cook
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

While Cook was productive as a matter of volume — he ranked sixth leaguewide in rushing yards — his general efficiency dipped. He scraped the bottom of the NFL in rushing yards over expected, probably why the Vikings didn’t retain him for 2023.

Image Courtesy of Tej Seth

Minnesota also ran the ball the third-least of 32 NFL teams per playcall percentage last year, rendering McAfee’s argument next to useless. Here’s the full McAfee clip for context:

A couple of days before McAfee’s announcement about Cook as the Vikings saving grace in 2022, Keyshawn Johnson ranked the league’s Top WRs for the 2023 season on his ESPN radio show. His pecking order was as follows:

  1. Tyreek Hill
  2. Davante Adams
  3. Ja’Marr Chase
  4. Stefon Diggs
  5. A.J. Brown
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Show co-host Max Kellerman appeared to clarify 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.”

So, if you’re keeping the weekly count at home, this is the latest on Jefferson:

  • He isn’t a Top 5 NFL wide receiver.
  • Jefferson was largely a product of the Vikings system.
  • Dalvin Cook, not Jefferson, was the team’s 2022 offense.

Jefferson won the NFL’s 2022 Offensive Player of the Year award — but somehow isn’t a Top 5 pass-catcher, is a product of his surroundings although he’s encountered three different offensive coordinators in three seasons, and Dalvin Cook is the mysterious special sauce.

Training camp can’t arrive soon enough.

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 OverTheCap.com.