Minnesota Vikings Breakout Candidate No. 1: Justin Jefferson
It’s not a big reach to hope that your first-round NFL Draft pick has a major impact in his rookie season. However, the Vikings need wide receiver Justin Jefferson to step in and produce immediately in the departure of Stefon Diggs, and he’ll have the opportunity to do just that.
Jefferson was a monster at LSU as part of one of the greatest offenses in the history of college football. With 111 catches, 1,540 yards and 18 touchdowns, Jefferson was a top target for quarterback Joe Burrow and should slide right in across from veteran wide receiver Adam Thielen to boost the passing game.
There have been concerns about Jefferson’s 92 percent snap rate in the slot last season, but that should be more of a benefit for his production. Jefferson has experience playing on the outside, and while his numbers weren’t as gaudy, they were effective enough to make offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak believe they can use him in the same way Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas was used in New Orleans.
When Vikings fans hear the name, Michael Thomas, that should make their ears perk up. The odds are against Jefferson putting up 1998 Randy Moss numbers, but a strong season isn’t out of the question and the Vikings will need it to stay afloat.