Is This the Year for Justin Jefferson?

20 Brief & Essential Facts: Vikings-Patriots
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The Minnesota Vikings drafted Justin Jefferson 22nd overall during the 2020 NFL Draft. Despite being passed on by other teams that needed wide receivers, Jefferson emerged as the greatest wide receiver across the entirety of the league. He’s racked up all of the accolades thus far, but a 2,000-yard season just barely eluded him. Is 2024 the year it happens?

Is This the Year for Justin Jefferson?

After posting more than 3,000 receiving yards during his first two seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, Justin Jefferson truly exploded in his third year. While talk of Tyreek Hill being the top dog in the league ran rampant, the Vikings pass catcher exploded for 1,809 yards and flirted with breaking Detroit Lions Calvin Johnson’s single-season record.

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Realistically, Jefferson had a chance to not only surpass the Megatron record but also become the first wide receiver in NFL history to record 2,000 yards in a single season. Sure, he would have had an extra game to do it, but surpassing the previous tally by so much would have certainly legitimized the new record.

It might seem weird to think that Jefferson is best-positioned to put up a new career-high without Kirk Cousins under center, but that may be the catalyst as to how and why it happens. With Sam Darnold and eventually rookie J.J. McCarthy as the quarterbacks, Minnesota may throw more than ever with Kevin O’Connell dialing up the offense.

Justin Jefferson Quietly
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Coming off a 7-10 season, the Vikings will be up against a much tougher NFC North Division. The Detroit Lions are legit, and the Green Bay Packers have shown to be on the rise. Chicago has a new top pick ready to lead the offense, and the Vikings should enter the year projected to be at the bottom of the division. Whether they are in games or not, there could be a substantial amount of garbage time.

Either Darnold will find success by utilizing his best weapon, or McCarthy will lean on a top wideout to speed up his development. Yes, Aaron Jones is going to get his touches, but T.J. Hockenson won’t be on the field for a matter of weeks, and regardless of the opposition’s attention to Jefferson, he’s going to be counted on early and often.

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Accuracy from the quarterback position will be imperative, but the amount of targets that should be directed at the former LSU product could be otherworldly. He’s going to have every opportunity to turn them into significant production, and becoming JJ2K may happen along the way.

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.