5 Bold Predictions: Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions – Week 3
By Chris Schad
Justin Jefferson will dominate in the slot
While St. Brown’s breakout has been one of the top stories of the season, Justin Jefferson’s dominance could also be on display against the Lions secondary.
In four games against Detroit, Jefferson has 30 catches for 503 yards and a touchdown. Jefferson was especially dominant in the first half of a Week 5 meeting with the Lions last year, catching seven passes for 124 yards before Detroit switched to a two-high scheme in the second half.
There are several factors that could point to an even bigger game for Jefferson this time around. Kevin O’Connell’s scheme did a tremendous job of getting his star receiver in space in the win over the Packers in Week 1, and there’s a good chance he could do the same against the Lions on Sunday.
That’s because Detroit is still looking for a shutdown corner in the secondary. Will Harris is averaging 1.65 yards per coverage snap through the first two games, and Jeffrey Okudah hasn’t lived up to his lofty expectations as the third overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
The Vikings’ best chance at success, however, could be targeting an old friend. Former first-round pick Mike Hughes is eighth among qualifying cornerbacks this season by allowing 1.73 yards per coverage snap in the slot. Jefferson has also succeeded in the slot this season, trailing Miami’s Jaylen Waddle (7.47) with 3.69 yards per route run in the slot.
All of this points to another big day for Jefferson, but that could depend on the performance of his quarterback.