The Minnesota Vikings have had a tendency over the last several years to ease young wide receivers into their offense. Stefon Diggs was a fifth-round pick with a ton of talent in 2015, but it took a few games before he started getting utilized regularly.
This offseason, Diggs was of course traded to the Buffalo Bills, and now leads the NFL with 239 receiving yards through his first two games. To put those numbers into perspective, the Vikings have a total of 372 receiving yards through their first two games.
It can take some time for receivers to get used to the NFL speed, but the Vikings first round pick from 2020 has shown that he is ready to take the next step. A lot of the buzz in training camp revolved around second year receiver Bisi Johnson, but Justin Jefferson needs to be utilized as the wide receiver two moving forward.
Jefferson addressed the media on Wednesday morning and had this to say about cornerbacks at the NFL level.
It hasn’t been too bad for me. Being at LSU, being in the SEC you see those types of guys week in and week out,” Jefferson said. “To be in this position going against these NFL guys, I’m kind of used to it and up for the challenge.”
The former LSU star has shown glimpses of how talented he is through the first two games. Although he has only totaled five catches for 70 yards, Jefferson has shown the ability to get open on several occasions. He feels as if he is ready to take that next step and provide excitement to the Vikings fan base.
“Anything to help this team, I’m here to make those big plays and bring a lot of excitement to this organization,” Jefferson said. “We just have to do a lot more different stuff to get the ball in different people’s hands and let the playmakers work.”
A big theme for the Vikings offense thus far in 2020 has been the lack of getting the ball in their playmakers hands. Granted this happens much easier when the defense struggles to get off the field but spreading the ball around needs to happen more for the Vikings to find success.
Jefferson isn’t the only player being underutilized in this offense. Irv Smith Jr., Kyle Rudolph and Dalvin Cook have a combined seven catches for 48 yards. The tight ends and running backs were utilized so well in 2019 and that has completely gone away in the Vikings offense in 2020.
Not only do the Vikings need to get the ball in Jefferson’s hands more frequently throughout the remainder of the season, but they must do a better job at spreading the ball around to all of the talented pieces on their offense.
If you need a reminder on how good Jefferson was in college, here are some quick highlights.