Justin Jefferson is a liar. Not in a nefarious way, mind you. In his case, Jefferson’s knack for deception is actually a virtue. Playing receiver is a study in trickery, and few are better at hoodwinking their opponents than the Vikings’ second-year star.
“I think that’s what makes it so difficult for guys to get a bead on him,” said Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson. “Because his body can lie to you.”
As a rookie in 2020, Jefferson posted one of the best debut seasons for any receiver in NFL history. The Vikings’ first-round pick finished his rookie year with 1,400 receiving yards, the most for any receiver since the NFL-AFL merger and 87 more yards than Minnesota legend Randy Moss totaled in his first year. Jefferson wasn’t just the most productive rookie receiver in modern history, he was also one of the most efficient pass catchers in the entire league. Jefferson ranked third league-wide in receiving yards, and only Davante Adams (2.96) finished ahead of Jefferson (2.66) in PFF’s yards per route run metric.
Through five games this season, Jefferson has picked up right where he left off. He currently ranks sixth in the NFL with 426 receiving yards and has continued to torment opposing corners.
Jefferson has accomplished all of this as the fifth receiver drafted in a loaded 2020 class. Understanding what makes him such a threat can be tough to grasp at first. At 6-foot-1 and around 200 pounds, Jefferson isn’t particularly big. After running a 4.43 in the 40, he isn’t particularly fast either.
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