Justin Jefferson Is about to Accomplish Something Randy Moss Never Did

Justin Jefferson appears to
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson won the Sporting News Offensive Player of the Year award this week, and he’s mere days from winning the Associated Press [and “more official”] version of the trophy.

And Randy Moss never did that.

The award has trended in recent years toward wideouts, as Michael Thomas won it in 2019 and Cooper Kupp in 2021. The NFL became totally pass-happy about a decade ago, thanks to the Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning-fueled revolution.

Justin Jefferson Is about to Accomplish Something Randy Moss Never Did

Now, wide receivers are reaping the benefits — even if that means they’re still wholly disqualified from winning the MVP award. Baby steps, eh?

Justin Jefferson Is about
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Jefferson was a tyrant on the field for production in 2022, tabulating 128 receptions for 1,809 receiving yards and 9 total touchdowns. The reception total shattered the Vikings single-season record held by Cris Carter and the yardage mark held by Moss. Jefferson’s rise to power was so profound in 2022 that Carter took notice by declaring the 23-year-old as the best wideout in Vikings history.

Carter joined the Up and Adams show in December and used the platform to declare Jefferson as top dog. The former Viking assuredly placed Jefferson’s resume above his own, citing Jefferson’s supreme athletic ability. And he also seemed to endorse Jefferson over Moss, a man widely considered the best Vikings wideout in team history and perhaps league history.

Eliminate the Primary Foe
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“I do believe [Justin Jefferson] and Randy Moss are neck-and-neck, but Justin can do so many things at an elite level. It is what it is,” Carter told Kay Adams.

In winning the Sporting News OPOY award, Vinnie Iyer from SN explained Jefferson’s supremacy, “Jefferson was able to stand out from a crowd at not only his position, but given several QBs and RBs had similar cases to others at his position, he was rewarded most for his clear statistical brilliance.”

The Vikings Top Players from Best to Worst: After Week 15
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During the Moss and Jefferson era, these men have won the AP OPOY award:

  • 1998 = Terrell Davis
  • 1999 = Marshall Faulk
  • 2000 = Marshall Faulk
  • 2001 = Marshall Faulk
  • 2002 = Priest Holmes
  • 2003 = Jamal Lewis
  • 2004 = Peyton Manning
  • 2005 = Shaun Alexander
  • 2006 = LaDanian Tomlinson
  • 2007 = Tom Brady
  • 2008 = Drew Brees
  • 2009 = Chris Johnson
  • 2010 = Tom Brady
  • 2011 = Drew Brees
  • 2012 = Adrian Peterson
  • 2013 = Peyton Manning
  • 2014 = DeMarco Murray
  • 2015 = Cam Newton
  • 2016 = Matt Ryan
  • 2017 = Todd Gurley
  • 2018 = Patrick Mahomes
  • 2019 = Michael Thomas
  • 2020 = Derrick Henry
  • 2021 = Cooper Kupp
  • 2022 = [presumably] Justin Jefferson

Associated Press award winners will be formally announced on February 9th. Jefferson was voted 1st-Team All-Pro in 2022 and is a finalist for the MVP award that will likely be won by Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

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,’ and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.