The Minnesota Vikings rookie had himself a very impressive 2020 campaign.
Panic was the emotion that a number of Minnesota Vikings felt when the team decided to trade Stefon Diggs to the Buffalo Bills last March.
Diggs had blossomed into one of the top wide receivers in the NFL during his tenure with the Vikings. But he wanted out and Minnesota got an offer that they couldn’t turn down from the Bills.
Thanks to Buffalo, however, the Vikings might have landed an even better receiver in Justin Jefferson. Minnesota used the first-round pick they acquired from the Bills in last year’s NFL Draft to select Jefferson and the young receiver went on to have an amazing rookie season in 2020.
Minnesota Vikings rookie ranks as a top-three receiver in 2020
For a guy that wasn’t even in the starting lineup for the first two games of the 2020 season, Jefferson was able to put up some very impressive numbers during his first year with the Vikings.
In 16 games, the Minnesota rookie caught 88 passes for 1,400 yards and seven touchdowns. Jefferson’s totals for catches and receiving yards a both the most by a Vikings rookie in team history and his yardage total is also the most by any player during their first season in the NFL since 1970.
What makes his rookie campaign even more impressive is the fact that Minnesota’s offense finished the 2020 season ranking 27th in pass attempts. Jefferson was able to put up monster stats in an offense that didn’t even emphasize their passing attack.
His performance during his first year with the Vikings certainly didn’t go unnoticed and rightfully so. In Pro Football Focus’ final wide receiver rankings for the 2020 season, Jefferson finished as the No. 2 pass-catcher on the list.
Davante Adams of the Green Bay Packers was the only receiver to rank ahead of Jefferson on the list and Diggs came in at the No. 4 spot.
It’s not like Diggs didn’t put up very impressive numbers in 2020 though, because he did. But PFF clearly felt that Jefferson performed better during the regular season than the guy who he replaced on Minnesota’s roster.
When the Minnesota Vikings are constructing their roster for the 2021 season, which members of their 2020 roster should they send packing?
As crazy as it sounds since he will only be entering his second year in the NFL, but Jefferson has a legitimate chance to finish at the top of PFF’s wide receiver rankings in 2021. Time will tell, but the Vikings rookie could be even better next season and that’s a scary thought to have.