Vikings huge receivers have an awesome observe file in terms of being voted Sporting Information’ NFL Rookie of the Yr. Justin Jefferson, Minnesota’s steal of a No. 22 total decide within the 2020 draft, is the newest to affix the membership.
Percy Harvin (2009) was the newest Vikings winner on the place earlier than Jefferson. When the award was nonetheless handed out by convention, Paul Flatley (1963) and Sammy White (1976) have been the primary two wideouts honored.
However Jefferson needs to be happiest to be talked about in the identical breath as Corridor of Famer Randy Moss, who took dwelling SN’s award 22 years in the past. Jefferson grew up idolizing Moss, the No. 21 total decide within the 1998 draft. He has been praised by Moss and was rapidly welcomed by the others into their particular pass-catching fraternity.
Jefferson broke Moss’ file for catches in a season by a rookie with 88, for a catch fee of 70.4 p.c on his 125 targets. Jefferson additionally broke Anquan Boldin’s file for receiving yards by a rookie with precisely 1,400. Together with these numbers, Jefferson had seven touchdowns.
Moss, again in ’98, caught 69 of 124 targets for 1,313 yards. The place he separates from Jefferson is having 10 extra TDs (17) and averaging extra yards per catch (19.0 vs. 15.8).
|Randy Moss (1998)||Justin Jefferson (2020)|
Moss, nevertheless, was part of an offense that produced a then-NFL file 556 factors together with 4,328 yards passing. The 2020 Vikings scored solely 430 factors with 4,009 yards passing. Moss performed with an usually spectacular Randall Cunningham at quarterback, however Jefferson performed with the typically shaky Kirk Cousins. Each gamers have been helped by taking part in reverse a sure-handed veteran, Moss with Cris Carter (12 TDs) and Jefferson with Adam Thielen (14 TDs).
The Vikings received 17 speeding TDs from 4 mixed gamers in 1998, led by Robert Smith. The Vikings received 16 of their 20 speeding TDs from All-Professional Dalvin Prepare dinner in 2020.
Moss scored 18 p.c of his crew’s factors. Jefferson was a little bit under 10 p.c. Jefferson, nevertheless, had 35 p.c of his crew’s passing yardage whereas Moss accounted for 30 p.c of his.
Moss (6-4, 210 kilos), like Corridor of Fame up to date Terrell Owens, dominated his period with measurement, pace and fingers together with nice route-running. Jefferson (6-1, 201 kilos), like Moss, got here from prolific school manufacturing and translated these abilities to the NFL immediately — even whereas requested to play outdoors in a brand new place away from the slot. Throughout his nationwide championship run with LSU in 2019, Jefferson caught 111 passes for 1,540 yards and 18 TDs. That means he has a excessive ceiling to construct on his spectacular, instant ground.
Moss bodily was a dominating, intimidating presence. Jefferson is extra the typical peak of an NFL receiver. Jefferson has an extended approach to go earlier than getting Moss-like protection consideration and his expertise will not result in defensive coaches having the identical matchup nightmares.
There could be the sensation that Jefferson would not belong in a comparability with Moss, however each have been extremely efficient rookie receivers for the Vikings with barely totally different approaches important to opening up success for the crew’s different proficient skill-position gamers.
Jefferson might want to string collectively a number of extra robust follow-up seasons to get into an even bigger dialog with Moss. However there isn’t any doubt the stellar begin to his NFL profession stacks as much as Moss significantly better than one would suppose.