In March, the Buffalo Bills offered a trade package for Stefon Diggs that general manager Rick Spielman couldn’t refuse. Fans panicked over the prospect of the Minnesota Vikings rebuilding, yet all that ended after wide receiver Justin Jefferson was picked in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Jefferson delivered huge for the Minnesota Vikings in Week 3 against the Tennessee Titans. Was it a coming out party for Jefferson? Maybe. Vikings fans were aware that the former LSU Tigers star was one of the best prospects available in the 2020 NFL Draft and there are five reasons why Justin Jefferson will be a top 10-NFL rookie by season end.
The Justin Jefferson eye test
The Vikings will miss Diggs, but Jefferson will prove his value to Minnesota in the long run. No one is Randy Moss, the No. 22 overall pick has a ton to offer this year and beyond.
Checking in at 6-foot-1 with 4.4 jets, the young stud offers a nice combination of size and speed. When you add his 37.5-inch vertical to the mix, he becomes a scary match-up for his opponent on Sundays.
As a junior in college in 2019, Jefferson paired up with Joe Burrow to haul in 111 receptions, which led the nation. The rookie from LSU now will need to find a way to translate his college success to the pros.
NFL Hall of Fame influence
What better players to learn from than Thielen and tight end Kyle Rudolph? Both are Pro Bowl players for the Vikings and will help the rookie learn from his mistakes, while providing guidance for him to become a star on Sundays.
What is even more fascinating is that during his time at LSU, Jefferson played alongside the son of Randy Moss, tight end Thaddeus Moss. The family connection to one of the greatest wide receivers of all-time has had an influence on Minnesota’s rookie receiver.
NFL Draft day motivation
After slipping further than expected on draft day, Jefferson mentioned he planned on making each team that passed on him pay for their mistake.
The former LSU Tigers star can exact his vengeance on one of those teams when the Dallas Cowboys come to town in Week 11. Cowboys selected CeeDee Lamb with the 17th pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, five spots ahead of where Jefferson was taken by Minnesota.
Minnesota Vikings immediate opportunity
Without an established second starting receiver on the Minnesota roster, Jefferson will make an immediate impact. In Week 1, the rookie wide receiver played the second-most snaps among Viking receivers. Out of the 19 receptions the Vikings completed, Jefferson pulled in two for 26 yards.
While stats from his first game don’t jump off the page, his quick burst and ability to make defenders miss show potential. Minnesota’s fans have come to expect a low-bar from the team’s first-round receivers. But as long as Jefferson isn’t Troy Williamson or Laquon Treadwell, fans will be quick to celebrate his success.
One reason Jefferson offers a little bit of everything is positional versatility. Like All-Pro Adam Thielen, Jefferson can line up at all three wide receiver spots on the field.
Unpredictability will go a long way toward making the Minnesota offense look less vanilla and keep defenses guessing.