Often first-year wide receivers struggle to transition to the NFL as they learn additional route trees and extensive offensive playbooks. New Vikings wideout Justin Jefferson will now be joining a club that lays claim to arguably the best rookie wideout in NFL history. As a rookie back in 1998, Hall of Famer Randy Moss posted an incredible season with 69 receptions for 1,313 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns. Moss’s rookie TD total is a record that will almost assuredly never be broken.
The oddsmakers at DraftKings Sportsbook have set the newest wideout to don purple, gold, and white total rookie receiving yards for 2020 with an over/under of 725.5.
The Vikings last week used the overall No. 22 pick on the highly productive former national champion. Jefferson was the fifth wide receiver off the board chosen behind: Henry Ruggs (No. 12, Las Vegas), Jerry Jeudy (No. 15, Denver), CeeDee Lamb (No. 17, Dallas) and Jalen Reagor (No.21, Philadelphia). The talented wideout feels disrespected and sounds highly motivated. “Every single team that picked a receiver instead of me are going to pay,” Jefferson said on The Zach Gleb Show.
Jefferson’s junior season saw him catch an LSU and SEC record 111 passes for 1,540 yards and 18 touchdowns. The 6’1” 202-pound star set a new LSU record for catches in a season, the first Tigers player to break 100-receptions while his touchdown total ranks No. 2 in the LSU record books only behind teammate Ja’Marr Chase’s mark of 20.
Considered one of the most pro-ready wide receivers in this year’s class, Jefferson will be expected to replace Stefon Diggs, who was traded to the Buffalo Bills. Diggs was a very productive player for the Vikings, averaging 82 catches, 1,075 yards and 7.5 touchdowns over the last two seasons. SI’s very own Shawn Childs recently broke down that “this Jefferson will immediately slide right into Diggs’ role in the Vikings’ offense. Over his previous four years, Diggs caught 313 passes for 3,903 yards and 26 TDs on 450 targets over 57 games.” Based on last year’s profile and the current structure of the Vikings’ offense, his model projects Jefferson catching 61 passes for 811 yards and five TDs in his rookie season.
Vikings beat writer Will Ragatz believes the Vikings hit a home run landing Jefferson at No. 22 overall and gave the club a draft grade of A for the selection. I am in total agreement with that assessment. I love the added chip on the rook’s shoulders, and I am willing to bet that kind of motivation in addition to the expected high snap volume and target share working as the WR2 will lead to Jefferson surpassing this projection by oddsmakers.
THE PLAY: OVER 725.5 (-112)
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