When the Vikings traded away Stefon Diggs to the Buffalo Bills this offseason it had the fan base divided. Trading away the star of the Minneapolis Miracle hurt the hearts of many fans and he has since gone on to show how good of a receiver he is in Buffalo.
However, the Vikings got a good amount of picks back, including the first rounder that was used to select Justin Jefferson out of LSU.
Jefferson got off to a slow start through the first two games of his career, but then again the entire Vikings team got off to a slow start in that time frame. In his third career game, the former LSU star showed off his skill sets. Jefferson totaled seven catches for 175 yards and his first career touchdown at the NFL level.
Despite getting off to a slower start, Jefferson is now in the history books in terms of rookie wide receivers on the Vikings through their first three games.
Any time a rookie wide receiver gets compared to Randy Moss he must be doing something right. Earlier last week Jefferson talked about how his time at LSU helped him prepare for facing good cornerbacks week in and week out.
“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.”
Clearly his time in the SEC helped him prepare for the big moments. Jefferson led all Vikings in terms of PFF grades as well with an overall grade of 93.8. He also talked last week about how the Vikings need to spread the ball around to take some of the pressure off Adam Thielen.
“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.”
The Vikings came up short against the Titans, but the coaching staff did a great job at putting the ball in the hands of their top playmakers. Dalvin Cook also had a career day rushing for 181 yards and a touchdown while averaging 8.2 yards per carry.
When I wrote about Jefferson leading up to the draft I was pretty high on his abilities entering the next level. Here’s what I said about him after watching some of his tape from LSU.
Another wide receiver that should be on the Vikings radar is Justin Jefferson out of LSU. Jefferson is coming off a National Championship winning season where he was one of the go to targets for Joe Burrow.
He is at his best when he is in the slot, but that shouldn’t shy the Vikings away from him. According to PlayerProfiler.com, Jefferson ran a 4.43 40-yard dash and broke out at the age of 19.6. His 40-yard dash time ranks in the 86th percentile and his breakout age ranks in the 74th percentile.
Jefferson runs good routes, has the ability to win contested catches and has sticky hands. These are all traits that great receivers bring to the table and Jefferson has the chance to become a great receiver at the next level.
Coming out of LSU there was a narrative that Jefferson was primarily a slot wide receiver. Although he dominated the college competition out of the slot, he played the majority of his snaps against the Titans out wide.
The Vikings desperately needed another playmaker to step up with the lack of production over the first two weeks. After his week three performance, it’s safe to say that Jefferson has locked up the wide receiver two spot moving forward.
There haven’t been many areas for excitement starting the season 0-3, but Jefferson is one of the bright spots on this roster moving forward.