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Justin Jefferson wants to be the best receiver in the NFL. His 2022 stats prove it.

Justin Jefferson’s meteoric rise has reached new heights during the 2022 NFL season. Before the season started, the Vikings superstar said he wanted to be recognized as the league’s best receiver. He made a compelling case leading in almost every receiving category.

By Thanksgiving night, Jefferson had passed Vikings legend and Hall of Fame wide receiver Randy Moss for the most yards in a player’s first three seasons in the NFL. Jefferson, 23, broke a record that stood nearly 22 years with a leap forward thanks to a Patriots double team of safety Devin McCourty and cornerback Jonathan Jones.

Jefferson broke many records during his brief but dominant professional career. His most impressive season to date — as a unanimous first-team All-Pro selection, Pro Bowler, and finalist for Associated Press Most Valuable Player and Offensive Player of the Year honors, including winners will be announced Thursday evening – reinforced his feverish pursuit of the greats of the game.

Jefferson sprinted out of the starting blocks of his NFL career, leading a happy league and producing at a faster rate than anyone before him. He already has the most yardage in the first three years. Now he’s closing in on the modern cohorts — Odell Beckham Jr. (54 games) and Julio Jones (56 games) — to become the fastest player to 5,000 career receiving yards. Jefferson is 175 yards in 50 regular season games.

Jefferson repeatedly said he was chasing a Hall of Fame jacket and a Super Bowl ring. He also got off to a faster start than anyone in Canton, including career receiving yards leaders – Jerry Rice, Larry Fitzgerald, Terrell Owens and Moss.

Fastest at 5,000

Since the jump this season, Jefferson has been carving up defenses with big game after big game. He said he was surprised how few Packers defenders were close during his afternoon rush for 184 yards and two touchdowns in the season-opening win at US Bank Stadium. It was the first of three times Jefferson reset his single-game career high, surpassing the Vikings’ franchise record by 223 yards in a December loss to Detroit.

After Jefferson had 133 receiving yards against the Giants on Dec. 24, he had passed the century mark 24 times in 48 career games. Jefferson not only holds the NFL record for most 100-yard receiving games in a player’s first three seasons, but will also have the most in all four seasons (previously Moss’ 23).

Receive yards per game

The arrival of head coach Kevin O’Connell from the Rams, where wide receiver Cooper Kupp led the NFL in catches, yards and touchdowns the previous season, gave Jefferson a chance to reach the same heights in a passing-heavy offense.

Jefferson lived up to expectations by setting two Vikings franchise records with 128 catches for 1,809 receiving yards, becoming the youngest player to lead the league in both – surpassing Packers receiver Don Hutson, who had held the mark for 1936. O’Connell’s offense allowed Jefferson to catch and run, exemplified by his league-leading yards after receiving among NFL wide receivers.

2022 NFL receiving leaders (WR only)

Few players, and no other receiver, have taken on a greater burden for their team than Jefferson this season.

He accounted for 28.3% of Vikings yards from scrimmage, behind only a trio of running backs – Derrick Henry of Tennessee (36.1%), Josh Jacobs of Las Vegas (32.9%) and Nick Chubb of Cleveland ( 28.5%) – for the largest share for a team by a player.

As one of the NFL’s most versatile threats, Jefferson consistently hit singles (a league-high 80 first downs) and home runs (a league-high 28 catches from 20+ yards) to lead the Viking attack.

When the Vikings distributed the ball, they frequently turned to running back Dalvin Cook and tight end TJ Hockenson, who gained more than 500 yards despite only playing 10 games for the Vikings. Minnesota.

Vikings share of offensive yardage

Justin Jefferson wants to be the best receiver in the NFL. His 2022 stats prove it.

Even though the Vikings’ final fourth down pass in the playoff loss to the Giants was unsuccessful, no one has been more productive this season on third and fourth downs.

Jefferson led the NFL with 27 first downs and six touchdowns on third and fourth downs, according to Pro Football Reference. Amari Cooper of the Browns and Amon-Ra St. Brown of the Lions were closest to Jefferson in those key moments.


Jefferson has often fueled the Vikings’ eight game-winning drives — quarterback Kirk Cousins ​​tying the NFL single-season record set by Matthew Stafford in 2016 — with big plays while trailing or tied in games. close matches.

Jefferson’s catches on third and fourth downs included the one-handed grab from 32 yards to convert a fourth-and-18 at Buffalo; a 47-yard third catch to Washington as they led 17-7 in the fourth quarter; and a 17-yard touchdown against the Giants on third down with minutes remaining in the Dec. 24 win.

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