The Justin Jefferson breakout game is happening right in front of our eyes. The Vikings rookie receiver has exploded onto the scene in Week 3, catching seven passes for 175 yards and counting against the Titans. He's showing why Minnesota made him a first-round pick back in April.
Heading into this game, Jefferson had just five catches for 70 yards through two weeks. It was a small sample size, but Kirk Cousins had a higher passer rating when targeting the LSU product than any other receiver. The Vikings talked during the week about getting Jefferson more involved in the offense.
Early on, it became clear that they were serious. Jefferson caught each of Cousins' first four passes for 40 yards, including three first downs.
Then came the first of several big moments. Jefferson, playing on the outside against former Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Butler, had a great release off of the line of scrimmage and went up for a highlight-reel contested catch. It was a 31-yard gain that set up a touchdown pass from Cousins to Adam Thielen.
Jefferson later added a 33-yard catch and run to get up to 104 yards in the first half. In doing so, he became the first Vikings rookie with over 100 receiving yards in a half since Randy Moss in 1998.
He wasn't done. Early in the third quarter, Cousins launched one deep to Jefferson off of play-action and he eluded multiple tackles for a 71-yard touchdown, the first of his career.
Jefferson's 175 yards are just 35 shy of the Vikings rookie record for receiving yards (Sammy White with 210 in 1976) and there's an entire quarter remaining.
Update: Jefferson finished with 175 yards as the Vikings fell 31-30 to the Titans to remain winless. Read my three takeaways from the loss.
Make sure to bookmark this site and check back daily for the latest Vikings news and analysis. Also, click the follow button in the upper right-hand corner of this page (mobile users, tap the bell icon – you may have to click ‘News’ first), leave comments below, and follow me on Twitter.