5 reasons why Justin Jefferson will instantly impact the Vikings in 2020

(Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) Justin Jefferson
(Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) Justin Jefferson /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images) Justin Jefferson /

Jefferson is a big play waiting to happen

The Vikings passing attack shifted its philosophy last season from using quick-hitters and screens to produce big plays to a more opportunistic approach that took advantage of deeper routes. As a result, Stefon Diggs saw a team-high 31.9 percent of his targets come 20 yards or more downfield.

Justin Jefferson posted a 4.4-second 40-yard dash time at this year’s NFL Scouting Combine, so if Minnesota wants him to run go routes in 2020, he can do that. But his best ability is to get the ball in his hands and use his speed for yards after the catch.

According to PFF, Jefferson was especially deadly in the intermediate game. The 21-year-old caught 31 of his 40 targets between 10-19 yards and hauled in seven touchdowns to produce a passer rating of 147.9. Even better, Jefferson was most effective on slants, in routes, or crossing routes, turning them into 30 plays of 20 yards or more (ninth-best in the nation).

For whatever reason, the Vikings didn’t give Diggs the opportunity to run a lot of these routes and it was a key part of that frustration. With Gary Kubiak throwing more variation into his passing game, Jefferson should be able to capitalize and make big plays once he gets the ball in his hands.