The Minnesota Vikings added high-flying WR Justin Jefferson out of LSU with the 22nd overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Jefferson steps into the vacated Stefon Diggs role now that he has moved onto the Buffalo Bills.
Adam Thielen did take a small step back last season but injuries played a role in that. The Vikings prefer a conservative style of offense that is focused on the run; however, when they put it up, they like to open it up to attack downfield. This fits near-perfect with Jefferson with his deep threat speed. Olabisi Johnson is currently penciled in as the Vikings No. 2 WR, but they'll give Jefferson every opportunity to get on the field fast and that could come in the slot. That should yield targets early, and hopefully production can follow.
Jefferson should be thought of as a late-round flier with room to grow in future seasons. This offense doesn't quite have the passing firepower to reliably support more than one fantasy WR.
The rise of Joe Burrow was a big win for Jefferson in 2019. Over his 15 games in a national championship season, he caught 111 passes for 1,540 yards and 18 TDs. At the NFL combine, Jefferson ran a 4.43 forty yard dash, but he didn’t participate in many of the other drills testing strength and quickness. His game showed a significant edge when getting a defender in trail positions, where Jefferson showed the ability to make late adjustments to secure tightly contested ball. At the goal line, he had value in 2019 on the outside on fades, plus the feel to work the middle of the deep zone on crossing patterns. Jefferson showed growth last season after a switch to the slot. His quickness in that role can’t match some of the best WRs in the NFL, as he still needs some work on his route running ability.
I really think there is a good chance that a team like the Vikings could trade up and select Jefferson before he gets to Philly at No. 21. No matter who gets Jefferson, I don't see him on the board after the 21st pick.
Minnesota Vikings stats to know
- Dalvin Cook finished 6th in RB scoring (294.4) in PPR league despite playing in only 14 games and struggling to find open field over his final six games (3.0 yards per rush and 6.3 yards per catch).
- After two excellent seasons (91/1276/4 and 113/1373/9), Adam Thielen lost his way in 2019 (30/418/6). He only had four catches for 52 yards and one TD over the last ten games of the regular season (six missed contests).
- The Vikings’ WRs ranked 31st in catches (137), but second in yards per catch (15.53).
- Minnesota held QBs to the lowest output in rushing production (28/110) in the NFL.
- Their secondary allowed the second-highest number of wide receiver catches (239).
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