Coming into the 2020 NFL Draft, there were a few elite wide receivers that scouts were drooling over. Those names were Henry Ruggs III, Jerry Jeudy, and CeeDee Lamb. However, there were other options for teams later in the draft that have legitimate star potential as well. One of those names was Minnesota Vikings rookie wideout Justin Jefferson, who was selected with the No. 22 overall pick in the draft.
He is coming off of a massive season with the LSU Tigers where he was the go-to target for No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow.
Jefferson was drafted to help replace the void left by Stefon Diggs, who the Vikings traded to the Buffalo Bills. Diggs had become a major issue from a drama perspective, but Minnesota knew that their offense needed another receiving threat alongside Adam Thielen. The rookie wide receiver is ready to fill those big shoes.
During the 2019 season at LSU, Jefferson put together massive numbers. He caught 111 passes for 1,540 yards and 18 touchdowns on the season. Part of his success had to do with the amazing play of Burrow, but Jefferson’s ability was impressive as well.
Looking ahead to the upcoming 2020 season, the Vikings are going to expect big things from their rookie. Jefferson may not end up being as productive as Diggs, but he certainly has a chance to start his career with a bang.
All of that being said, let’s dive in and take a look at three numbers Jefferson must target with the Vikings as a rookie.
3. 65 Receptions
To start things off, let’s set 65 receptions as a number for Jefferson to target as a rookie this season. In order to replace the production lost in the Diggs trade, the Vikings need a legitimate No. 2 option for Kirk Cousins.
Obviously, Thielen is still the go-to target for the Vikings. He was having a big season in 2019 before going down with a hamstring injury. Jefferson’s main job will be to take pressure off of Thielen and provide Cousins with a secondary option.
Racking up 65 receptions should be a very reasonable goal for the rookie. Jefferson is a great route runner and has great speed and size. His first year with the Vikings should end up being a smashing success.
2. Start All 16 Games
Secondly, the Vikings need consistency from their rookie wide receiver. Jefferson needs to come in and immediately become an every week starter. He needs to play at a consistently high level to maintain that starting job ahead of Bisi Johnson.
If the Vikings can get that kind of production and role from Jefferson, they are going to be sitting pretty offensively. Moving on from a player like Diggs is never an easy decision to make, but getting a guy like Jefferson could make that transition smooth.
Jefferson is going to be penciled in as a starter from Week 1 and needs to make sure that he never lets that spot go.
1. 1,000 Yards and Eight Touchdowns
Finally, very few rookie wideouts are able to pass the 1,000-yard milestone in their first NFL season. That being said, the Vikings are a very dynamic offense and will provide Jefferson with the potential to reach that goal. Adding in eight touchdowns would icing on top of the cake.
Minnesota will run the ball quite a bit with Dalvin Cook. However, Kirk Cousins is a legitimate star and could very well end up being an MVP candidate in 2020. Diggs was always a 1,000-yard threat and Jefferson is taking his role.
Jefferson’s ability to make plays down the field with his size and speed and his route-running ability should help him come close to this target. It’s a lofty goal, but one that the rookie wide receiver should absolutely set for himself.