Justin Jefferson Could Win More Awards in July

Vikings Arrange Meeting with Top Receiver Prospect
Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports

Almost as a matter of fact, Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson has established himself as the NFL’s best wide receiver.

Leading into last season, Jefferson’s third as a pro, he hadn’t quite secured the prestige, perhaps playing second-fiddle to Davante Adams or Tyreek Hill.

Justin Jefferson Could Win More Awards in July

But the 24-year-old won the league’s Offensive Player of the Year award in 2022, cementing Jefferson as the top wideout in the sport.

Could Win More
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

And don’t look now — but Jefferson could win more hardware in July. ESPN’s annual ESPY celebration is afoot, and Jefferson could win Best Play (in sports) and Best NFL Player. The playmaker is up for both awards, and a national audience will learn on July 12th if Jefferson takes home one or two trophies — or none at all.

For starters, this is the play Jefferson fired up with quarterback Kirk Cousins en route to shockingly toppling the Buffalo Bills last November:

Minnesota later won the game after trailing 27-10 in the second half.

Justin Jefferson Can Still
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

According to ESPN’s ESPY site, Jefferson and Cousins will vie for the Best Play against these contenders:

  • Michael Block Hole-in-One! GOLF
  • Justin Jefferson with the Catch of the Century NFL
  • Ally Lemos with the perfect corner to tie the National Championship game NCAA
  • Trinity Thomas Perfect 10 Tying the All-Time NCAA Record NCAA
Kirk Cousins Is a Hall
Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson makes a one-handed catch against Bills Cam Lewis to keep a late drive alive. © JAMIE GERMANO / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Jefferson and Cousins are significantly more likely to win this award than Jefferson is to take home Best NFL Player solo. Here’s Jefferson’s competition for the other award:

  • Nick Bosa, San Francisco 49ers
  • Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles
  • Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings
  • Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

While it would be profound for Jefferson to win Best NFL Player, Mahomes is close to a lock for the chip after his team won Super Bowl LVII over the Philadelphia Eagles and he won the Super Bowl MVP. In fact, it could be called malpractice if anybody but Mahomes is triumphant.

Bold Prediction for
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Jefferson, meanwhile, is in the process of remaining a Viking for a very long time. He has two years left on his rookie contract and is intertwined in contract extension talks with the Vikings. The Vikings front office, head coach, and Jefferson personally have hinted for five months that a deal is near.

When that happens, the reigning OPOY will likely be paid $30-$35 million per season — and maybe even own a fancy ESPY trophy to go along with it.

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.