The Minnesota Vikings receiver has lit the league on fire during his first season in the NFL.
Expectations were not very high for Justin Jefferson after the Minnesota Vikings selected him in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. The Vikings obviously wanted Jefferson to play a part in their offense this season, but no one could have predicted the type of impact that he actually ended up making.
With his performance on Sunday during Minnesota’s win over the Detroit Lions, Jefferson ended his first year in the NFL with the league’s all-time record for receiving yards in a single season by a rookie during the Super Bowl era.
So not only did the young Vikings pass-catcher break the franchise’s rookie record for receiving yards in a season that was previously held by Randy Moss, he accumulated more yards this year than any other rookie receiver in the NFL since 1970.
Talented Minnesota Vikings receiver deserves to be the Offensive Rookie of the Year
Against the Lions on Sunday, Jefferson ended the matchup with nine catches for 133 yards. This was the seventh time this year he’s finished a game with at least 100 yards and no other rookie pass-catcher in the Super Bowl era other than Odell Beckham Jr. has racked up more 100-yard performances during a single season.
In his first year with Minnesota, Jefferson finished with a total of 88 catches for 1,400 yards and 7 touchdowns. These are some very impressive numbers despite the fact that the rookie receiver didn’t get a chance to start a game for the Vikings until Week 3.
Currently, it is believed by many that this season’s Offensive Rookie of the Year award will go to Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert.
While Herbert has had an impressive rookie campaign himself, Jefferson is just as deserving of the award, if not more deserving than the Chargers quarterback.
Herbert has already set the all-time rookie record for touchdown passes in a single season, but he’s playing in an offense that had attempted the third-most passes in the NFL heading into Week 17. His touchdown percentage (5.0) is also lower than a bunch of mediocre quarterbacks from around the league including Mitchell Trubisky, Baker Mayfield, and Derek Carr.
As for Jefferson, he’s been able to break all of these rookie receiving records despite being a part of a Minnesota offense that ranked 27th in passing attempts heading into Week 17. He is also one of four players to accumulate at least 1,300 receiving yards in a season as a rookie during the Super Bowl era and the other three (Beckham, Moss, and Anquan Boldin) all went on to win the Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
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Cases for the honor can be made for both Herbert and Jefferson, but the Vikings receiver has been able to do more with fewer opportunities. At the very least, the award should just be given to both of them and the NFL can have Co-Offensive Rookies of the Year for the first time in league history.