Cream of the Rookie Crop
Justin Jefferson – WR
- 16 receptions
- 348 yards
- 1 touchdown
Justin Jefferson’s season might have gotten off to a slow start, but he’s been on absolute fire during the last two weeks. Jefferson broke out during Minnesota’s Week 3 game against the Tennessee Titans with 175 receiving yards and a touchdown.
He can beat a defense in so many different ways. He can go up and make a tough grab while he’s being blanketed, he can turn on the jets and burn by defenders, and he’s also tough as he usually bounces off the first tackle while he picks up additional yardage.
The Vikings are getting a huge early return on their first-round investment as Jefferson has racked up 16 receptions for 348 yards and a score. That yardage puts him ahead of Randy Moss’ rookie pace and that is some nice company to be in.
Jeff Gladney – CB
- 16 tackles
- 2 pass breakups
- 2 tackles for a loss
Jeff Gladney, like Jefferson, got off to a slow start this year. He only saw a few snaps in Minnesota’s first game against the Green Bay Packers, but he has taken on a much larger role since then.
Gladney has been thrust into the starting lineup due to injury and while he’s had plenty of bumps in the road, he’s also gotten better every single week.
Gladney has shown to be an all-around cornerback who in addition to having sticky coverage, isn’t afraid to come up and support the run. He’s totaled 16 tackles on the year with a couple of them resulting in a loss for the opposing team.
He’s also broken up a couple of passes and he could remain the starter even when Mike Hughes comes back. After a quarter of the way through the season, it appears that the Vikings nailed both of their first-round choices.
Cameron Dantzler – CB
- 7 tackles
Cameron Dantzler‘s stat line would make one believe he should be in the next tier, but he’s only played in two games this year. Besides that, the third-round pick worked his way into being a starter and he was one of the brightest stars in Minnesota’s training camp this summer.
Dantzler is a natural when it comes to covering a wide receiver. He understands where to position his body and he has great timing when he needs to go up and make a play on the ball.
Like Gladney, he’s had a few mental lapses out there so far this season, but that’s to be expected from a young corner, especially one trying to learn Mike Zimmer’s complex system.