An Exemplary 2024 Will Allow Justin Jefferson to Hit Several Milestones for Vikings Franchise

NFL: Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Notably, Justin Jefferson is playing for a franchise that knows something about elite receiver play. Randy Moss stands out, but he’s far from alone. Cris Carter was elite, too, and there have been other excellent options: Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Ahmad Rashad, Jake Reed, and so on.

Jefferson, though, is quickly rising the ranks. In fact, he is a single strong season away from leapfrogging a lot of notable names for Minnesota’s franchise records, so let’s take a look to see how high Jefferson could go.

Justin Jefferson and the Vikings’ Franchise Records

Right off the top, the basic numbers for #18.

For the most part, Justin Jefferson has played a fully healthy four years. The exception arrived last year when he was forced to miss seven games and then part of two more. Plus, he didn’t start initially with the Vikings, functioning as a backup at the outset of 2020. Otherwise, the man has been on the field for major snaps.

Sep 10, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) stiff arms Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Carlton Davis III (24) in the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

With all that said, the numbers:

  • 392 Catches
  • 5,899 Yards
  • 30 Touchdowns

If Minnesota has 10,000 lakes (give or take), then this fact has been said 10,000 times (give or take): Jefferson owns the record for most receiving yards in a player’s initial four seasons. So, in NFL history he is sitting in the elite spot: #1 overall.

In terms of all time numbers with his specific team – the Vikings – Jefferson is already in a great spot. Take a look at the stats and then the ranking:

  • 392 Catches – 10th in Vikings History
  • 5,899 Yards – 8th in Vikings History
  • 30 Touchdowns – 9th in Vikings History
Oct 1, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) reacts after scoring a touchdown in the third quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Again, we’re talking about someone who has been in the NFL for four seasons, someone who missed a ton of time in 2023. Already, he is sitting in the top 10 for a franchise that has a proud history of elite receiver play.

How high can he go after 2024?

To answer that question, let’s roll with the average Jefferson season, at least statistically. Based on his four years, Jefferson’s normal season involves 98 catches, 1,475 receiving yards, and 7 touchdowns (rounding down from 7.5). Toss those numbers onto the established totals and where does that leave Mr. Jefferson?

Well, he would be sitting on these totals:

  • 490 Catches – 5th in Vikings History
  • 7,374 Yards – 4th in Vikings History
  • 37 Touchdowns – 7th in Vikings History

Not bad.

Reaction to Vikings Win over Giants
Dec 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Of course, Justin Jefferson is going to be around Minnesota for far longer than just 2024. Kwesi Adofo-Mensah attached his WR1 roster for the next five seasons and there’s potential for the relationship to continue beyond those years.

By the time it’s all said and done, Jefferson should be at (or near) the top of every meaningful Vikings receiving stat category.

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

K. Joudry is the Senior Editor for Vikings Territory and PurplePTSD. He has been covering the Vikings full time since the summer of 2021. He can be found on Twitter and as a co-host for Notes from the North, a humble Vikings podcast.