5 bold Minnesota Vikings predictions for Week 18 vs. the Detroit Lions

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson / Stephen Maturen/GettyImages
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Bold Vikings Prediction No. 1

Justin Jefferson will reach 1,000 yards on the season

One of the biggest storylines of the 2023 season has been a hamstring injury that knocked Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson out for eight games.

Although Minnesota went 5-3 in Jefferson's absence, it still threw a wrench into his season as the star receiver will be looking for a contract extension during the 2024 offseason. Getting to 1,000 receiving yards would be one way for him to maximize his value during the final week of the season.

There have only been four players since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger to have 1,000 receiving yards in each of the first four seasons of their careers. If Jefferson gets 118 yards on Sunday, he’ll join a prestigious group that includes Randy Moss, A.J. Green, Mike Evans, and Michael Thomas.

From a matchup standpoint, Jefferson has a good chance to make that happen. The Lions allow the sixth-highest net yards per attempt at 6.6 yards, and he already smoked Detroit’s secondary for six catches for 141 yards and a touchdown in their previous matchup on Christmas Eve.

With the Vikings’ playoff hopes on the line, a good strategy would be to get the ball in Jefferson’s hands as much as possible. That should be enough to get the All-Pro wide receiver over 1,000 yards for the season and continue his Hall-of-Fame trajectory at this point of his NFL career.