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Cris Carter Believes Justin Jefferson Will Be the Greatest Vikings Receiver Ever

The Hall of Famer has high praise for the Vikings' young superstar.
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Cris Carter knows a thing or two about great wide receiver play.

The Hall of Famer, who spent 12 of his 16 seasons with the Vikings, is one of the greatest in NFL history at the position. He ranks fourth all-time in receiving touchdowns, sixth in receptions, and 13th in receiving yards. He leads the Vikings' record books in all of those categories. In a lot of ways, Carter helped revolutionize how the position was played during his peak days in the mid-to-late 1990s.

So when he says he thinks Justin Jefferson — provided he stays healthy and remains in Minnesota — will be the greatest Vikings receiver ever, that carries a lot of weight.

"Everyone wants to, because we have such a great history, compare him in such a short period of time," Carter said to Ron Johnson on Locked On Sports Minnesota. "But I do believe that if he fulfills his potential — if he's able to avoid injuries, if he's able to stay with the Vikings ... I believe that, if people consider me to be the greatest Viking, then I'm just holding the crown until he finishes his career."

I'm assuming Carter is referring to Vikings receivers, as most people would probably consider Fran Tarkenton or Alan Page to be the greatest Viking ever, regardless of position. Even just among receivers, Carter and Randy Moss have set an extraordinarily high bar. Moss was the more talented of the two — he's arguably the most talented receiver to ever play the sport — but Carter has the longevity in a Vikings uniform. He had some of the best hands in NFL history and made toe-tapping sideline catches look routine.

Jefferson, who is the league's all-time leader in receiving yards per game (96.5), has a chance to break all of Carter's records if he stays with the Vikings long-term. It's very early, but that's how good he's been in his first three seasons. This is a more pass-heavy era of football, which helps Jefferson, but his talent is undeniably rare.

"Wide receivers, if there were four or five categories, when you look at him in those four or five categories that a receiver's gotta do — releases, catching the ball, running with the football ... all those things, he's doing at a high level," Carter said. "He has no weakness in his game. So that right there would put him in the conversation. Now, consistency, longevity, all those things, desire to be great at the game, staying hungry at the game, putting another receiver (next to him), having quarterbacks throwing him the football, having some type of running game, all those things come into play in having a long, long career."

"I told the Vikings when we were in London that I would rip up his contract now," Carter added. "I'd sign him now to a five-year contract. I'd give him $150 million now because it's only going to cost them more money."

Jefferson is eligible for an extension after this season. The No. 1 priority for GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and the Vikings moving forward will be making sure they do whatever it takes to keep No. 18 in Minnesota for the long haul. If they get that done and Jefferson remains on this pace, he could go down as one of the best to ever do it.

You can find Johnson's full interview with Carter here.

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