Many thanks to Christopher Gates, managing editor of The Daily Norseman for stopping by and giving some insight on how Justin Jefferson projects with the Vikings.
1. With Stefon Diggs traded to Buffalo, is Jefferson the clear cut No. 2 option for Minnesota?
I firmly believe that Justin Jefferson is WR2 for Minnesota as soon as the ink dries on his contract. The trade of Stefon Diggs, which gave the Vikings the pick they ultimately used on Jefferson, leaves a pretty significant hole at the wide receiver position, and while the Vikings might have guys that they like to potentially fill that role, none of them have the ability that Jefferson has. The only things that might keep Jefferson from being the #2 guy behind Adam Thielen would be injury or a potentially altered offseason/Training Camp schedule that might keep him from getting the reps to move up to the #2 spot. All things being equal, though, I would be stunned if he wasn’t WR2 on Opening Day.
2. Jefferson and Adam Theilen both work well out of the slot, how does Minnesota divvy up those reps?
I think that both Jefferson and Thielen are going to get moved around a lot. Over the past couple of seasons, both Diggs and Thielen saw plenty of snaps both outside and in the slot because they’re both versatile enough to play either spot. Even though Jefferson handled a lot of slot duties at LSU, the Vikings appear to think that he’s got the ability to line up all over the place as well, and I’m sure that’s what we’ll see this season. I think that Jefferson’s primary spot, at least early on, might be in the slot because of Thielen’s experience, but I’m sure that he’ll be expanding his repertoire as the season progresses and he gets more comfortable.
3. I feel like with the other playmakers in the Minnesota offense, Jefferson can have an instant impact for the Vikings. Is Jefferson a sneaky good rookie of the year bet?
I think I would definitely put Jefferson into the category of players that could be Offensive Rookie of the Year candidates. I know that most of the focus going into the 2020 season is going to be on his college teammate, Joe Burrow, and for good reason. But Jefferson is going to be going into a situation where he’s not going to be expected to come in and be “the guy” right away. Adam Thielen is still going to be drawing the majority of the attention from opposing defenses, and that’s going to give Jefferson the chance to see a lot of single coverage until he establishes himself. For all of the garbage that people want to sling at Kirk Cousins, he is one of the league’s more accurate quarterbacks, and with Jefferson’s route-running abilities, Cousins is going to find him a lot. I’m not sure if I’d make Justin Jefferson the favorite for 2020 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, but I’d definitely put him on the short list.
4. Finally we have a lot of Saints fans on this here website. How good does it feel to not only knock the Saints out of two of the last three playoffs but also pluck Jefferson away from New Orleans?
To be honest, I’m still surprised that the Vikings had the opportunity to steal Jefferson from New Orleans. When the Philadelphia Eagles came up at #21, I think we all assumed that they were going to take Jefferson because they had a need at wide receiver as well. However, they were kind enough to take a receiver that, quite frankly, is not as good as Justin Jefferson is, which was nice of them. As far as how that relates to the Saints, I would like to think that after the Vikings took Jefferson, Sean Payton got either angry or sad. Ruining that guy’s day is always a plus.