Third-Year Viking Has a Chance at MVP

Nov 14, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) tries to elude Los Angeles Chargers safety Alohi Gilman (32) after catching a short pass in the third quarter at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Jefferson is already among the NFL’s top players. What’s scary, though, is that he’s only 22, so he still has the capacity to keep improving. It makes some sense, then, that Jefferson received some consideration as a “dark horse” candidate for the NFL MVP.

Adam Schein from NFL.com includes him in a list alongside nine others. Take a look at Schein’s rationale: “Perhaps the Vikings receiver doesn’t get enough credit for being one of the truly elite offensive players in the game today. If so, that’s a shame. I’ve voted him first-team All-Pro in both of his NFL seasons.”

He goes on: “And he’s done that with a quarterback who doesn’t always play well when the sun goes down and a running back who doesn’t always play. Minnesota can surprise people this year with a great new head coach and a fresh infusion of new energy. Jefferson is an alpha dog. His impact goes beyond even his gaudy numbers.”

Players other than a QB rarely get consideration for the NFL MVP. In other words, Justin Jefferson may be fully deserving but still get overlooked due to the emphasis on QB.

Last year, Cooper Kupp put up a historically great year, culminating in a Super Bowl MVP award. The regular season led to 145 catches, 1947 yards, and 16 TDs. He won offensive player of the year, but not MVP.

So, winning MVP as a receiver is indeed a lofty accomplishment, one that would be very surprising. What we can say is that Justin Jefferson has far, far exceed expectations. I can’t imagine there were too many fans – even the ones who are optimistic – who believed that he could be as dominant as he already is. He’s already Kirk Cousins’ WR1, and his portion of the team’s overall air yards is astounding.

If things go extraordinarily well, the Vikings will hopefully be able to add a notable trophy as their third-year wideout adds another accomplishment to his career.