In years past, the answer to who was lining up across from Adam Thielen was simple as he and Stefon Diggs seemed to be on the same page on every play. While they’ll have to navigate through an acclimation period, Justin Jefferson has the talent needed in order to soften the blow of losing Diggs.
As part of one of the most dominant offenses in college football history, Jefferson ran wild in the slot for LSU last year with 111 receptions for 1,540 yards and 18 touchdowns. That production isn’t easy to achieve. But since he spent the majority of his time in the slot, that leads to questions on how the Vikings will use him.
Many believe that since Thielen is so good in the slot, Minnesota will opt to use Jefferson on the outside more. But Vikings offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak mentioned that the rookie will play a good chunk in the slot this season.
If anything, the ability to play multiple positions gives Kubiak options. With Jefferson being effective both in the slot and on the outside, the Vikings can give multiple looks and feed him with targets in the same way the Saints feed Michael Thomas.
The problem with Jefferson is the expectation level heading into the season. If Jefferson gets 700 to 800 yards with six to eight touchdowns, that would be considered a success.
Since he’s replacing Diggs though, some might consider those numbers a failure. Either way, Jefferson is poised to have a major role in Minnesota’s offense from the start.