4 moves that got the Minnesota Vikings back to .500 after Week 13

(Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports) Dalvin Cook
(Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports) Dalvin Cook /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Justin Jefferson /

Moving Jefferson into the starting lineup

Since there was no preseason this year, Justin Jefferson’s first snap on the field in a Vikings uniform came back in Week 1 against the Packers. Because of his lack of in-game reps, Minnesota decided to ease Jefferson into their offense during their first two matchups of the season and they kept him at the No. 3 spot on their wide receiver depth chart behind Adam Thielen and Bisi Johnson.

By the Vikings’ third game of the year, however, the team couldn’t afford to continue rolling with Johnson as a starter. So Minnesota threw Jefferson into the starting lineup for their Week 3 matchup against the Tennessee Titans and the rest has been history.

Since he was made a starter for the Vikings in Week 3, no wide receiver in the NFL has accumulated more receiving yards than the rookie. Jefferson’s yards per catch average is also the highest of any receiver in the league with at least 40 receptions since Week 3.

Minnesota’s rookie receiver has been such a difference-maker for them during their turnaround in the last six weeks. The Vikings most certainly would not be sitting with a 6-6 record after Week 13 if they did not make the decision to insert Jefferson into their starting offense.