Ranking the 5 best catches of Justin Jefferson's career with the Vikings

Minnesota Vikings WR Justin Jefferson
Minnesota Vikings WR Justin Jefferson / Hannah Foslien/GettyImages

Justin Jefferson is a megastar and the face of the Minnesota Vikings. His star power extends beyond Minnesota and it’s one of the reasons why Jefferson will be featured on the Netflix docu-series "Receiver", which releases on Wednesday, July 10.

But while many will tune in to get a glimpse of Jefferson behind the curtain, he’s known for his play on the field. Jefferson’s first four seasons in the NFL have been filled with big plays, but there are some catches that stand out more than others.

In this article, we’ll rank some of Jefferson’s best catches as a Viking and see which play is the best of his career so far.

5 best catches of Justin Jefferson's career with the Minnesota Vikings

5. Justin Jefferson jukes Stephon Gilmore out of his shoes

This exercise is tougher than expected because Jefferson is open on a regular basis. Like wide open. While some receivers thrive more on contested catches, Jefferson’s route runner has had its share of victories as well, including a highlight reel touchdown against Stephon Gilmore on Dec. 17, 2022.

The play in the fourth quarter with the Vikings facing a 3rd-and-2 on the Colts’ eight-yard line. Jefferson took a few steps forward, darted in and back toward the sideline to shake Gilmore and was wide open for a touchdown.

The catch made it a 36-21 game with 12:53 left in the fourth quarter but was part of a the largest comeback in NFL history as the Vikings overcame a 33-point deficit to defeat the Colts 39-36.

4. Jefferson torches the Packers

Any Vikings legend has to have a big moment against the Packers, and Jefferson’s came during a regular season meeting on Nov. 21, 2021.

The Vikings were trailing the Packers 24-23 and facing a 3rd-and-3 with just over two minutes left in the fourth quarter. The Packers sent a blitz and got to Kirk Cousins, but he threw the ball up for Jefferson, who jumped up, caught the ball, and muscled past Eric Stokes into the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown.

Aaron Rodgers threw a game-tying, 75-yard touchdown to Marquez Valdez-Scantling on the next play, but Jefferson’s touchdown was instrumental in a 34-31 win.

3. Jefferson brings it down against the Lions

The end of the 2023 season was something that Vikings fans would like to forget, but Jefferson gave them a moment to remember during a Christmas Eve game against the Detroit Lions.

The Vikings were trailing 30-24 and facing a 3rd-and-27 after an errant snap derailed their drive. With the game seemingly on the line, Nick Mullens threw up a 500 ball toward two Lions defenders, but Jefferson jumped up and came down with the ball for the first down that continued the drive.

Unfortunately, Mullens threw a game-sealing interception two plays later and the Vikings playoff hopes circled down the drain as they lost six of their final seven games.

2. Jefferson’s first career touchdown

While Jefferson is a star today, Vikings fans weren’t sure what they had when he made his first career start in 2020. After Bisi Johnson started the first two games of the year, it didn’t take long for Jefferson to make an impact as he caught a 71-yard touchdown in the third quarter of a game against the Tennessee Titans.

This will go down as one of the strangest catches of his career due to the circumstances. The 2020 season was played in front of an empty U.S. Bank Stadium during the COVID-19 pandemic and Jefferson was so open, he hit The Griddy at the five-yard line before walking his way into the end zone.

The play signaled Jefferson’s arrival into the league and quickly made him one of the most electrifying players in the NFL.

1. Jefferson saves the day against Buffalo

Easily the craziest game Jefferson has been a part of, his catch during a win over the Buffalo Bills on Nov. 13, 2022.

The Vikings were down 27-23 and trying to make a statement win in Kevin O’Connell’s first season as head coach. Facing a 4th-and-18, Cousins made the decision to throw the ball into the air, and Jefferson reached up with one arm and came down with the football to keep the game alive.

It’s hard to say what the best aspect of this catch is. The fact that Jefferson even got to the ball makes it crazy enough. But the fact he wrestled it away from Buffalo cornerback Cam Lewis adds another layer to the greatest catch of his career.

Jefferson’s catch was just one moment in the Vikings’ crazy win over the Bills and may have been the highlight of the entire 2022 season.

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