Justin Jefferson Breaks Vikings Receiving Record, but MIN Falls to Frisky Lions

Justin Jefferson Lands First Award of 2022 Season
Dec 4, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) reacts after the game against the New York Jets at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Well, it turns out that Vegas was right all along to make the Minnesota Vikings two-point underdogs this week, and WR Jalen Reagor was wrong. The Lions defeated the Vikings in Detroit this week, 34-23, and it’s largely due to the fact that Detroit piled up over 450 yards of offense on the Vikings defense. It was the fifth consecutive time that Vikings opponents have put over 400 yards of offense on the Ed Donatell-led defense.

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Outside of that, though, there were also mistakes on the offensive side that cost the Vikings their 11th victory. Dalvin Cook fumbled a play on the goal-line that cost Minnesota a touchdown, and it was very apparent that the Vikings missed both Christian Darrisaw and Garrett Bradbury on their offensive line.

Minnesota mustered just 22 rushing yards in the entire game at a clip of just 1.3 yards per carry. Cousins was sacked four times, including one by rookie Aidan Hutchinson. Overall, it was a tough showing by the entire Vikings squad, except either of Cousins or Justin Jefferson. The Vikings QB finished the day with a season-high 425 passing yards and a pair of TDs.

A whopping 223 of those passing yards went to Justin Jefferson, which broke the Vikings single-game receiving record that Sammy White set back in 1975 against these very Lions. He recorded 212 yards to set the former record.

Right off the bat, things smelled of disaster for Minnesota today when Jameson Williams, who the Lions drafted 12th overall when the Vikings traded down with Detroit in the 2022 Draft, caught his first career NFL pass for a 41-yard touchdown. Minnesota would tie the game on the following drive, but Detroit never trailed in this game.

Overall, this is a disappointing result for the Vikings, but not one that was entirely unexpected. After starting the year with incredible health, injuries have begun piling up for the team in recent weeks. Along with Bradbury and Darrisaw being out on the offensive line, Harrison Smith missed the game as well.

Additionally, Cam Dantzler made his first start since Week 9 when he suffered an ankle injury against the Commanders, but he was in-and-out of the game throughout the afternoon, oftentimes being replaced by Duke Shelley, who consistently gave up chunk yardage. Compile these injuries alongside a Lions team that was red hot going into this game, winners of four of their previous five games, and it’s a recipe for failure.

Minnesota (10-3) now heads back home for a Saturday afternoon matchup against the Indianapolis Colts (4-8-1). If they win that game, the Vikings will officially end any drama regarding the NFC North. Meanwhile, the scorching hot Lions (6-7) head out on the road to take on the New York Jets (7-6). If Detroit wins that game, they must be considered serious playoff contenders despite starting the season with a 1-6 record.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. He also earned minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys marathon training, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his opinions, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.