Clear the Runway: Justin Jefferson Prepares for Takeoff

Training camp is finally here. The grass is cut, the sidelines etched into the gridiron, and the players are trying their best to stand six feet apart. It bears little resemblance to training camps of old, and I find myself wondering how much the players, specifically the rookies, learned sitting in a Zoom meeting with noted tech wizard himself Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer.

Regardless of what the players took away from their virtual camp meetings, they finally had the opportunity to hit the field recently. On that field was 2020 first round pick Justin “Jets” Jefferson.

Ladies and Gentleman the Jet has landed in Minnesota, and from all initial reports looks the part. I am absolutely stoked we have number 18 in purple. I’m corked up like a bottle of champagne just thinking about what this guy is going to do week one against the Packers.  

Fortunately for myself and every man, woman, and child that dons the purple every Sunday, we don’t have to wait to watch our guy reel in one-handed catches.

Granted, this grab was before the first official padded practice that took place on August 17, but it’s still bad-ass. 

When things did transition over to real pads for the first time in months, Jefferson didn’t hesitate to get noticed. “It’s very encouraging. He’s exactly what we drafted,” Vikings Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak said, while praising LSU for being a huge reason why Jefferson came into camp ready. 

Louisiana State University was an absolutely historically amazing unit last year, and for very good reason. They utilized a pro-style offense that featured Heisman trophy winner Joe Burrow, which is a great way for their players to get acclimated to the NFL game. 

“We pretty much ran the exact same offense [at LSU], just different terminology,” Jefferson said when questioned about the Vikings playbook. I am extremely comforted by the idea that Jefferson feels optimistic and comfortable about and with the scheme. 

Hell, he’s probably so settled in he’s accidentally referring to Kirk as Joey. He more than likely thought Coach Orgeron was going to sprint shirtless through the halls of The Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center this week. 

I am just glad that he is settling in with a team that will need his help this year. Especially in a year with a shortened camp. It’s nice to know that there is a resemblance between his past and present. 

Another encouraging comment about Jefferson came from one of his teammates Chad Beebe. “Justin’s a good dude. Super explosive and he is coachable, which is always huge,” remarked Beebe. 

What a beautiful world we live in. Teammates praising each other after two weeks of training camp. I love hearing about the character rookies show their first time in the league. It’s a big change, and much like any new situation there is going to be nerves. Guys that can show up with a big smile and great attitude, much like Jefferson, are guys you want on your football team. 

It won’t be long until we get to see what this Vikings team is capable of. And more importantly a chance to see a promising rookie class spearheaded by a first-round wide receiver that glides through the line of scrimmage like a jet fresh off the runway.