Showout Sets Jefferson Up for Showdown
The Minnesota Vikings looked fine on offense during Sunday’s loss to the Detroit Lions; at least they did when Kevin O’Connell wasn’t slamming Dalvin Cook into the offensive line. Justin Jefferson set a new franchise record for single game receiving yards, and he’s now got a four-game showdown on tap.
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Coming into the season, online oddsmaker, Bovada, had Justin Jefferson as the favorite to lead the NFL in receiving yards. His lackluster performance a week ago against the New York Jets set up an opportunity to bounce back. With just 14 yards during the Week 3 matchup against the Detroit Lions, there was no doubt he was excited for the opportunity at revenge.
Facing former teammate Mike Hughes, Jefferson routinely beat the cornerback like a drum. Kirk Cousins found him early and often to the eventual tune of a 223-yard output on the day. It was the first time Jefferson had surpassed 200 yards in a game, and was the 7th time that he had gone over the century mark this season.
Now sitting at 1,500 yards to his credit in 2022, Jefferson is nipping at the heels of his own career-best set last year, Jefferson is just 116 yards shy.
There will obviously be a race for the receiving crown this season, but both Tyreek Hill and Jefferson are certainly looking to become the NFL’s first 2,000-yard receiver. A year ago, Los Angeles Rams’ Cooper Kupp came close with 1,947 yards en route to a Super Bowl ring. He still wound up 17 yards shy of Detroit’s Calvin Johnson’s 1,964 yards in 2012.
Megatron was an entirely different threat than both Jefferson and Hill are. Jefferson would arguably have the more complete talent, being able to work both deep and over the middle. He’s not a big body but can take hits over the middle and work as an option to grind out yards.
Hill is definitely a burner that utilizes his speed to get behind the defense. His process has been adjusted some now working with Dolphins Tua Tagovailoa as opposed to the strong-armed Patrick Mahomes with the Kansas City Chiefs.
As much as the NFL has trended towards an offensive explosion, it may be somewhat surprising that no one has surpassed Johnson yet. Even in a 17-game season, the difficulty is immense. With 500 yards needed, and only four games to go, Jefferson must average 125 yards per game. To date, he has averaged just over 115 yards per game, which is slightly lower than Johnson’s 122.8 yards per game in 2012. We’ll see if he can get there by the end of the season.
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.