5 Bold Predictions: Minnesota Vikings vs. New Orleans Saints – Week 4

(Photo by Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports) Justin Jefferson
(Photo by Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports) Justin Jefferson /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Justin Jefferson /

Jefferson will feast on the Saints in the slot

The Vikings’ offense has been a mixed bag through three games, and that includes Justin Jefferson. After shredding the Green Bay Packers in Week 1, Jefferson has just nine catches for 62 yards over the past two games. Part of that has been tremendous coverage by Darius Slay and Jeff Okudah, but it’s also been a matter of teams throwing everyone they can to try and stop one of the best receivers in the NFL.

Things won’t get any easier against the Saints. Marcus Lattimore ranks 18th among qualifying cornerbacks in Pro Football Focus’s coverage grades this season and his 51.5 passer rating when targeted ranks 10th in that group. A corner that triggered Mike Evans bad enough he got him tossed from the game, Jefferson has the skills to shut down Jefferson, but the Vikings have the ability to make sure that matchup doesn’t happen.

According to PFF, 44 percent of Jefferson’s targets have come in the slot this season. While that hasn’t put up big numbers, it’s important to note that Lattimore has just five coverage snaps in the slot in the first three games. Meanwhile, the Saints’ leading slot corner, Justin Evans, has allowed 1.88 yards per coverage snap in the slot, which ranks eighth among qualifying cornerbacks.

The TV crews will be enamored anytime Lattimore and Jefferson square off on Sunday, but it won’t happen enough to keep him out of the game.