Vikings second-year wide receiver Justin Jefferson went on Colin Cowherd's FS1 show "The Herd" on Tuesday and made a few very interesting comments about his quarterback, Kirk Cousins.
Jefferson has said plenty of good things about Cousins in the past, but his tone was a little bit different this time around. First Cowherd asked him to compare Cousins with Joe Burrow, Jefferson's QB for his final two seasons at LSU and the No. 1 overall pick in 2020.
"Kirk and Joe throw similar balls," Jefferson said. "They're not the strongest arms, but they're going to get it to you exactly where you need them to throw it. The thing about Joe that's a little bit different — I feel like Joe has a little bit more swagger. He has that confidence on the field, he's not scared to get hit. I feel like as a quarterback, that's a big trait to have, especially to be as young as he is. He's a phenomenal quarterback."
That could certainly be interpreted as some light shade at Cousins, whether intentional or not, but things got even more notable after that. Cowherd followed up by asking Jefferson if he was surprised by the rumors that the Vikings had interest in Ohio State QB Justin Fields this year.
"Um, no. We have to build on for after Kirk or whatever the case may be. Having Justin Fields brings a little bit more pressure to other teams by having a dominant quarterback like he is."
That's quite the different message than when Jefferson was defending Cousins from criticism and saying "he's the reason why I had 1,400 yards" earlier this offseason. But things have changed over the past few months. The Vikings targeted a QB in this year's draft, declining to aggressively move up for Fields but landing Texas A&M's Kellen Mond with the second pick of the third round. That desire to land a QB reportedly came all the way down from Vikings ownership, which means Jefferson isn't the only one thinking about life after Cousins and his exorbitant contract (which runs for two more seasons, including a $45 million cap hit in 2022).
For what it's worth, Jefferson seems excited about Mond, who he has previously worked out with.
My overall takeaway is that there's nothing wrong with what Jefferson said. At 21 years old, it's not surprising that he has a closer relationship with Burrow than the 32-year-old Cousins, and it's fair to say that Burrow plays with more moxie. It's also fair to speculate about life after Cousins and to say that Fields is a really good QB prospect.
With all that said, it's still surprising to see an athlete talk about their teammate — particularly the one in charge of throwing them the ball — on national TV like this. I wonder if someone with the Vikings will talk to Jefferson about scaling back his honesty in these type of interviews.
It's notable to hear what the young star and borderline face of the Vikings' franchise thinks about the team's quarterback situation. We're not near a full blown Stefon Diggs situation at this point, but it's a story to monitor going forwards. Minnesota is at a crossroads with the QB position, and Jefferson didn't hold back when weighing in.
On a related note, you can find my in-depth thoughts on Cousins' Vikings tenure and the team drafting Mond right here.
Thanks for reading. Make sure to bookmark this site and check back daily for the latest Vikings news and analysis all offseason long. Also, follow me on Twitter and feel free to ask me any questions on there.