Vikings and Jefferson think WR star is still on the verge of taking off
There’s a long list of NFL standout wide receivers who found their footing in Year 3, when that learning curve for complex playbooks, quarterback chemistry and super-skilled cornerbacks starts to s ‘flatten and the breakthrough on the pitch begins.
If Justin Jefferson hasn’t hit his stride yet, well, that’s a daunting thought for defensive backs across the league who have been asked to cover for him in 2022 when they face the Minnesota Vikings.
No player in NFL history has totaled more than the 3,016 receiving yards that Jefferson racked up in his first two seasons. To hear anyone associated with the Vikings say it, including Jefferson himself, there was still a lot of meat left on the production table.
“Hopefully we don’t get that comment after the season,” Jefferson said. “There is always room for improvement, there are always things I need to address. I’m not the best at playing the game. There are always things I need to address, weaknesses I feel I still have.
Jefferson set an offseason record, affirming his confidence in his ability to be the leading 2,000-yard receiver. He also declared Davante Adams, who was recently traded by rival Green Bay to Las Vegas, the league’s best player at their early position. It’s a tag, Jefferson acknowledged again Wednesday before the first full practice of training camp, he aims to fly for himself as soon as possible.
Even though he has a surprising production slump, if extra attention on him should net more takes for Adam Thielen, KJ Osborn, Irv Smith Jr., Dalvin Cook or anyone else, Jefferson has prepared. for a mammoth payday next spring when he qualifies for his first extension. With new deals awarded in recent months to Tyreek Hill, Cooper Kupp, Terry McLaurin and several others, there are now 12 wide receivers in the NFL with an annual average contract value of $20 million or more, according to compiled salary data. by Over The Cap.
“I don’t like money too much,” Jefferson said. “I’m really trying to achieve that goal of being the best receiver.”
Getting the Vikings back on the pace as a contending team will also go a long way towards his feelings about signing his next contract. After leaving LSU as the national champion, Jefferson is 15-18 without a playoff appearance.
“But I am ready to change things. We’re all ready to turn things around, to get back to that old Vikings team that they were,” Jefferson said.
Wednesday’s on-court session included the full participation of tight end Irv Smith Jr., who missed the entire 2021 season after knee surgery. Linebacker Ryan Connelly and wide receiver Blake Proehl are on the physically unable to play list, still recovering from ACL tears, and cornerback Nate Hairston is on the non-football injury list for a reason. not disclosed.
Fans won’t be allowed to watch until Saturday at the TCO Performance Center, the gleaming and sprawling suburban headquarters the Vikings opened four years ago, but even when practice attendance is limited to staff, guests and media . the spotlight on Jefferson remains bright. The player nicknamed “Jet” is, obviously, still on the verge of taking off.
“Why not set the record for yards, catches in a year? Why don’t you?” wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell told Jefferson earlier this year. “What you guys did last year was good. Now let’s be awesome.”
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