Vikings Have a Historical Opportunity in Final 3 Games

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While the franchise seems to gravitate towards a .500 record in 2023, the individual numbers of some players are great. Danielle Hunter has already secured 15.5 sacks, ranking him second in the NFL behind T.J. Watt, the 2021 Defensive Player of the Year. The franchise and NFL records are long shots, but they could come into reach with one big performance on Christmas Eve.

Vikings Have a Historical Opportunity in Final 3 Games

Breaking franchise records has been a theme lately in Minnesota. Just last year, superstar wide receiver Justin Jefferson broke the single-season franchise records of two all-time greats. Randy Moss lost his yardage record, and Cris Carter lost his record for the most receptions.

Vikings Have a Historical Opportunity in Final 3 Games
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Everyone knows Jefferson is on a Hall of Fame pace, although a hamstring injury slowed down his 2023 campaign. His original goal was to reach 2,000 receiving yards as the first player ever, but he had to adjust his personal goal to 1,000 because of his absence.

That new goal would open the door for a historical mark in franchise history. The Vikings usually have great receivers on their team, but no group has managed to have three different guys with at least 1,000 receiving yards in a single season. It’s within reach in the current season, though.

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Jefferson is the farthest away as he needs 318 more yards, rookie Jordan Addison needs 176 yards, and tight end T.J. Hockenson needs 98 yards. The trio has three games to achieve those numbers and become the sixth team in NFL history to have three 1,000-yard receivers in the same season.

The 2008 Cardinals, with Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, and Steve Breaston, were the latest to do it. It has also been achieved by the Peyton Manning Colts in 2004 and the 1995 Falcons. Washington did it in 1989, and the San Diego Chargers did it in 1980.

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It would be crazy for most players to generate more than 300 yards in a three-game stretch, but it is what Jefferson does. His per-game average in the season is 97.4 despite barely playing in Las Vegas before leaving for the hospital. His career average yards per game is 96.6, the best in NFL history, so 318 yards is not too far-fetched, although it will be harder with Nick Mullens at QB than it would be with Kirk Cousins.

Addison is currently second in receiving yards among rookies. He was drafted to take some load off of Jefferson, and he has been everything the Vikings hoped for when they made the selection. His nine touchdowns rank him fourth in the NFL.

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Second among tight ends and at the top of the Vikings’ pass-catchers ranks Hockenson. Only Travis Kelce has racked up more yards through Week 15. The single-season franchise record is in reach for the former eighth-overall pick.

The Vikings had a pair of 1,000-yard receivers nine times in their history. Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs did it in 2018, snapping a long drought. From 1998 to 2000, Cris Carter and Randy Moss did it thrice consecutively, and Carter and Jake Reed had four consecutive seasons from 1994 to 1997. Joe Senser and Sammy White were the first duo to reach the milestone in 1981.

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Backup QB Mullens has thrown for over 4,800 yards in his 18 career starts, and his first one this season went for over 300. He has shown the ability to put up big yardage numbers, so there is a serious chance the Vikings could get three 1,000-yard players.

The group will meet the Lions on Sunday, followed by the Packers in Week 17 and another matchup with Detroit in the final regular season game.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt