The Pursuit of 3000

Nov 14, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) flexes to the crowd after hanging on to a complete pass for a first down in the first half against the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Vikings fans, for the most part, have begun to turn their attention toward the offseason. The team has been officially eliminated from the playoffs, so it’s a reasonable enough thing to do. What I’m going to suggest, though, is that fans ought to keep an eye on one thing this weekend: whether Justin Jefferson can eclipse the 3000 yard receiving mark over his first two seasons.

If he does, he’ll be the first player in NFL history to do so. Doing something that Jerry Rice, Randy Moss, and every other all-time great was unable to do is truly remarkable. Of course, it’s notable that Jefferson has the extra game. Nevertheless, the broader point remains that history is within reach.

Last weekend, Ja’Marr Chase surpassed Jefferson’s rookie receiving record. Gotta give credit to Chase: the rookie has made some bold promises and has more than delivered. Jefferson, though, is no slouch, and he earlier attained another record by surpassing OBJ’s 2755 yards over the first two seasons of a career.

The accomplishment will get a touch more interesting this weekend. The Vikings are playing at home against the Bears. The fans at U.S. Bank will have very little cheer for apart from defeating a divisional foe. In fact, there will likely be several folks in the stands looking for a Minnesota loss. Such an outcome would lead to a better position in the draft.

Regardless of the game’s outcome, we should all be cheering for Justin Jefferson to surpass 3000 yards. Frankly, the kid deserves better. He’s a great competitor and a great talent. Unfortunately, the team has let him down through his opening two seasons. Hopefully, Minnesota will get things sorted out during the offseason so that fans will have more to cheer about than mere personal accolades.

Indeed, I think it’s safe to say that future iterations of the Vikings have the capacity to have their cake and eat it too. Jefferson, in all likelihood, will continue playing at an elite level, thereby positioning himself to continue toppling records. That will hopefully occur as the Vikings, as a team, similarly ascend to an elite level.