Justin Jefferson Capped Off Insane Numbers

Opponents in 2024
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It certainly wasn’t ideal for the Minnesota Vikings that Justin Jefferson missed so much time this season. The superstar wide receiver certainly wasn’t hoping this was how his season would turn out, but after returning, he made an impact that felt most impressive.

Justin Jefferson Capped Off Insane Numbers

By now, four years into his professional career, we should be well beyond the point of doubting Justin Jefferson. He has ascended the ranks and become the best at his position across the entirety of the National Football League. Still, he continues to find new ways to reach impressive heights, and once again, that happened on Sunday.

Capped Off
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While the Minnesota Vikings had very little to play for against the Detroit Lions, Jefferson had an attainable goal within reach. After returning from substantial missed time, he was focused on reaching the 1,000-yard mark for the fourth time in four seasons. Despite starting at a blistering pace that could have put him within sniffing distance of Calvin Johnson’s all-time single-season record, he adjusted to a new mark.

Coming into the contest, Jefferson needed 118 yards to reach the coveted plateau, but his greatest challenge came in who was throwing him the football. Although the Detroit Lions were set on playing their starters, Dan Campbell’s defense leaves plenty to be desired through the air. When Nick Mullens first faced the Motor City Kitties a few weeks ago, he tallied 411 yards on the day. The volume was impressive, but it came with four ugly interceptions.

On Sunday, head coach Kevin O’Connell again went back to Mullens after briefly turning to Jaren Hall for a start, and Jefferson needed to make the connection work.

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There were no early targets for the Vikings’ best wideout, and his first look didn’t come until a few minutes into the second quarter. Once Mullens finally realized Jefferson was worth getting the ball to, the pair connected for a 22-yard hookup, taking Minnesota to the Lions’ eight-yard line. From there, the Griddy Man went to work. Jefferson wound up hauling in 12 of his 14 targets for a whopping 192 yards and a score. It was an exclamation point to individual success that Minnesota will now need to pay.

Of the 1,074 yards Jefferson tallied for Minnesota this season, 333 came in two games against the Lions. To say that the Vikings wideout had his way with the defense of the division winner would be putting it lightly. His 107.4 yards per game average was topped by only the Miami Dolphins’ Tyreek Hill (112.4), and neither the Dolphins wideout or Cowboys CeeDee Lamb surpassed Jefferson’s 1,809 yardage output from a season ago.

Vikings Longterm QB
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It’s beyond straightforward to suggest that the Vikings have plenty to sort out on offense in the year ahead. It’s not that they have massive holes to fill, but none is larger than that of quarterback Kirk Cousins. Deciding what to do with him and the position as a whole going forward should be focal point number one this offseason. Although Jefferson will need a gargantuan payday, he certainly will want certainty from who will be throwing him the football.

What Jefferson accomplished in parts of just ten games this season shows nothing but extraordinary talent. The Vikings drafted a generational player when taking him out of LSU, and he can become the next in line for a decorated franchise when it comes to superstar wide receivers. Making sure he is best utilized and in a position to win it all, though, is something the front office has to build around.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.