Justin Jefferson Is the anti-Diva
The Minnesota Vikings are privileged to have employed some of the NFL’s premium wide receivers in league history. There is seldom an era when the franchise is lacking at the WR spot of the depth chart. Each generation – and sometimes year – seems to have a household name at wide receiver for the Vikings. In that regard, the organization is spoiled. From Sammy White, Ahmad Rashad, Anthony Carter, Cris Carter, Jake Reed, Randy Moss, Adam Thielen, to Stefon Diggs, big-name pass-catchers are commonplace for the purple and gold.
In that vein, it was no surprise that Justin Jefferson exited the 2020 NFL Draft like a bat out of hell. Of course the Vikings nailed it with a wide receiver as the team’s modus operandi is evident. Not all franchises can claim god-like names in Cris Carter and Randy Moss.
And now Minnesotans are on the cusp of experiencing another installment of the series with a Jeffersonian pizazz.
Jefferson must prove he is immune to sophomore slumps, but that is probably the least of his fears. His diverse skill set alone likely prevents him from one-hit-wonder chatter. His accolades (1,400 receiving yards, seven touchdowns) in 2020 are not easily replicable, and no one has mimicked the yardage mark – ever. Jefferson set the NFL record for rookie receiving yards.
Interestingly, too, his personality – although outwardly extroverted — does not mirror that of other famous wideouts. Wide receivers are notorious for holding bombastic, ball-hoarding, self-serving personas. Jefferson isn’t that. He may ask for the ball to the utmost, but he [to date] has not made a fuss like others at his position.
Because of that, Jefferson exhibits a very anti-diva demeanor.
Respect for Justin Herbert
Truth be told, Jefferson should be salty as hell that the other Justin stole his Rookie of the Year award. Jefferson was a better wide receiver among wide receivers than Herbert was quarterback among quarterbacks. This should be the litmus test for award-winning, but 82% of ROY voters disagreed. Only nine folks out of 50 voted for Jefferson’s candidacy on ROY.
Did Jefferson sound off and bemoan the other Justin’s triumph? Nope.
Jefferson did the opposite. He declared a hyper-state of motivation for 2021 because of the snub and said:
“He definitely deserved that award. Of course, I would want it with the things I had done. But it is what it is. I’m chasing bigger things than a rookie award.”
The obvious disappointment of not winning the rookie honor was sidestepped for motivation about the future. Some wide receivers would blast the entire voting process, the opposition, and make it a big thing. Jefferson left that to the writers of VikingsTerritory – and rightfully so.
In most circles, Jefferson’s cordiality on the matter is described as “youth beyond [his] years.”
The Quick Clarification on Cousins Moment
The Vikings lost a pivotal game to the Chicago Bears in December. A victory in the contest would have sent Minnesota to the postseason for a date with – you guessed it – the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. But no such luck.
In that game at U.S. Bank Stadium, Jefferson was caught on an open microphone chiding Kirk Cousins for a poor throw.Profanities laced the soundbite. The moment – seemingly immediately – became a hot-button event for the habitual Cousins savagery. Is Cousins aggravating his teammates? That was the simmering narrative. After all, Cousins had sideline disagreements in 2018 with Adam Thielen. He must be a scoundrel, right? That is what some would lead you to believe.
Jefferson instantaneously remedied the budding controversy after the game. On the incident, he said: “Y’all love blowing stuff out of proportion. And I ain’t no diva don’t get it twisted.”
There you have it. From his own lips, Jefferson expressed the desire to avoid any diva doings. The man is wired differently.
And, He Should Be Happy
In fairness, Jefferson does not have oodles of ammunition to irritate him, at least not directly from the Vikings. He was targeted by the aforementioned Cousins 125 times during his rookie year – the most in the NFL by a rookie since 2015 (Amari Cooper).
The NFL rookie receiving yards record was slain. Jefferson probably replaced Thielen as the team’s WR1. Dalvin Cook takes pressure off the aerial corps of the Vikings. Jefferson is well on his way to a fat payday in 2025. Life is good.
Life is merely enhanced when the franchise’s most exciting player is not requesting trades or feuding with teammates. And Jefferson has displayed nothing of the sort.