A Third-Straight Justin Jefferson All Pro Snub Would be Preposterous

The State of the Vikings: Week 13
Nov 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Justin Jefferson has been an All Pro his first two seasons. The issue is that it’s been on the second team rather than the first team, diminishing the significance of the accomplishment.

Generally speaking, making the second team during one’s rookie and sophomore seasons would be reason to rejoice, and yet Jefferson is different. The former LSU receiver arguably should have made the first team in each season, especially the last one.

Now, before getting too far ahead of ourselves, I should acknowledge that I argued Jefferson wasn’t snubbed in 2021. My rationale was merely that Davante Adams and Cooper Kupp looked like a clear-cut top two. Choosing Deebo Samuel as the third WR wasn’t completely without merit; after all, the SF receiver put together his own phenomenal season. I’d have chosen Jefferson but could see how someone ended up at Deebo.

At the end of that piece, I offered this thought: “All I’ll say is that Jefferson just got a little more motivation. The NFL better be ready for him heading into year 3.”

So far, the NFL hasn’t been ready for him. Take a look at just a few of the numbers:

  • 1232 receiving yards
  • 5 TDs
  • 81 receptions
  • 15.2 yards per reception
  • 112 yards per game

According to PFF, Jefferson is currently the 4th-best receiver in the league. He finds himself behind Tyreek Hill, Stefon Diggs, and Amon-Ra St. Brown. All three are excellent players, and therein lies the issue.

The NFL has a ton of talent at receiver. To snag All Pro honors, one has to go beyond simply being an elite player. Jefferson was elite in 2020 and 2021 and still didn’t make the first team. Even still, another Justin Jefferson All Pro snub would be absurd. A certain character from Princess Bride would say “inconceivable.”

At 9-2, Minnesota is on the precipice of their first playoff appearance since the end of the 2019 season. That’s no small feat, especially when we consider the struggles from the defense.

Bringing Kevin O’Connell to town has been a positive, and yet it’s Jefferson’s third offensive play caller in as many seasons. Building some continuity in the same offense may allow Minnesota’s star to shine even brighter in 2023 and beyond.

If the expected occurs, it looks like Jefferson is going to finish the season with somewhere around 100+ catches, between 1750-2000 yards, and 7-8 TDs. More importantly, he has arguably been the single most important factor in Minnesota getting back into contention. Every week, Jefferson provides his team with an edge, the ability to confidently take the field on offense in the assurance that #18 will be capable of getting open.

If that’s not worthy of being a first-team All Pro, then there’s something wrong.

Editor’s Note: Information from Pro Football Reference helped with this piece.

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