Vikings’ Justin Jefferson: ‘After this year I’ll be the best receiver in the NFL’

Piecing together a top-five wide receiver ranking in today’s NFL can be something of a fool’s errand thanks to the sheer number of premier pass-catchers, but Justin Jefferson is confident projecting himself at the very top of the heap in the near future.

“I’ll say after this year I’ll be the best receiver in the NFL,” Jefferson told Complex’s Kameron Hay. “I definitely have to give it to Davante Adams as of now, him being so crazy and dynamic on the field. His route running is crazy, so I definitely have to give it to him right now, but I’m pretty sure after this year, it’s going to be me.”

Jefferson’s record-setting tear since entering the league makes it increasingly difficult to disagree with him. The electric wideout currently holds the record for most receiving yards in a player’s first two seasons with 3,016. That number tops the NFL since 2020 in general, and Jefferson also sits tied with New Orleans’ Michael Thomas for most catches in a WR’s first two years (196).

All of that success came in an offense built on running the ball, but the Vikings’ recent hire of head coach Kevin O’Connell promises to open up Minnesota’s passing game, elevating Jefferson’s ceiling as he strives to tweak his game and improve upon his second-season mark of 1,616 receiving yards.

“It’s definitely tough to outdo 1,600 yards,” he said. “It’s not normal for people to get that many yards consistently, back-to-back like that. Really just working on my weaknesses that I felt that I had throughout the season, always working on my game. I’m always working on route running, always can work on catching the ball, so just trying to better my craft at all of those different categories. And with this new offense with coach (Kevin) O’Connell, all of us are excited about this new playbook and hopefully we have a better season this year.”

Setting another career high in receiving yards during Year 3 would go a long way in chasing down the likes of Adams and Cooper Kupp, who came 18 yards shy of breaking Calvin Johnson’s single-season receiving yards record in 2021 while winning AP NFL Offensive Player of the Year.

If and when he catches them, Jefferson plans to set his sights next on the most prolific receivers across every era.

“I’m just trying to be up with those greats, trying to be next to them in the Hall of Fame,” Jefferson said. “I didn’t expect to be on top of the league this soon, but all of the hard work I’ve done and all of the things that I’ve sacrificed in my career and in my life to make myself this type of player, it’s definitely a blessing to have all of these things come to me so soon.”

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