Justin Jefferson could make Vikings forget about Stefon Diggs

(Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) Justin Jefferson
(Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) Justin Jefferson /

Even as a rookie, new Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson has a chance to come in and make an immediate impact for the team in 2020.

For at least the early portion of his career with the Minnesota Vikings, Justin Jefferson is going to be compared to Stefon Diggs.

Diggs was traded last month to the Buffalo Bills for a first-round pick and the Vikings went out and used their new selection to add Jefferson in this year’s NFL Draft. After an impressive college career at LSU, the Minnesota rookie receiver will be attempting to make up for the production lost by the departure of Diggs.

The Vikings likely aren’t going to count on Jefferson to come in a be an immediate superstar. But he still has a tremendous amount of potential to make a pretty large impact for Minnesota in 2020.

Since 2000, only six pass-catchers have ever finished a season for an FBS school with at least 100 receptions and 18 touchdowns. Thanks to his performance at LSU in 2019, Jefferson is one of these six receivers.

Last season at LSU, he caught 111 passes for 1,540 yards and 18 touchdowns. In 2019, Jefferson also had four multiple-touchdown games, 10 games with at least seven catches, and eight games with at least 100 receiving yards.

At his best from the slot, the Vikings’ newest receiver is a big-play waiting to happen. With LSU last year, Jefferson accumulated 37 catches of at least 15 yards or more (most in the nation) and his contested-catch rate of 92.3 percent was the best among draft-eligible FBS receivers.

Like Diggs and Adam Thielen, Jefferson is also very good at just getting open. He does really well at finding the open holes in zone coverage to create an easy target for his quarterback. And when the ball is thrown his way, Jefferson is more than likely going to catch it (91 percent catch rate in 2019).

With other weapons like Thielen, Dalvin Cook, and Irv Smith Jr. expected to be on the field at the same time, opposing defenses won’t be able to focus the majority of their attention on Jefferson next season. If Minnesota is able to take advantage of this, the rookie receiver could be in for an impressive campaign in 2020.

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It’s going to take a lot for Jefferson to make people forget about the guy who was on the receiving end of the “Minneapolis Miracle”. But the former LSU star has as good a shot as any in recent memory to prove that he was more than worth the first-round selection the Vikings used on him.