This rookie wide receiver class has come just as advertised. We are just 11 games into the regular season and it appears we have several stars in the making, including Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson. The former LSU standout has caught 52 of his 72 targets for 918 yards and six touchdowns so far this year. His receiving yards rank first among all rookies and his touchdowns rank second. Jefferson has also immediately stepped into the position Stefon Diggs left open after he was dealt to the Buffalo Bills this past offseason. Not only has he filled Diggs' starting role, he has created a new dynamic duo alongside Pro Bowl wideout Adam Thielen.
During the most recent episode of the CBS Sports podcast "All Things Covered with Patrick Peterson and Bryant McFadden," Jefferson discussed how his rookie season had gone thus far. The star wideout was also asked if he and Thielen formed a better dynamic duo than Diggs and Thielen did, and Jefferson didn't hesitate in saying yes.
"One, I'm a rookie but I have the mindset of a veteran," Jefferson said. "I just try to take every game the same and just try to be consistent. I feel like that's one of the hardest things especially as a rookie is being consistent and having those high-yard games week in and week out. Just having defenses really disguise their game around you -- that's crazy. Last game was the first time I have seen a robber (in coverage) in a hot minute. Just seeing that, it (gives) me confidence as well, showing that a defense has to do that to really lock me down."
Jefferson has recorded four 100-yard games in nine starts, and has been on a roll as of late. During the Vikings' Week 12 win over the Carolina Panthers, Kirk Cousins targeted Jefferson a career-high 13 times and connected with him in the end zone twice. While Diggs naturally has the more polished career thus far, Jefferson's ceiling could be higher. Before the draft this offseason, a longtime NFL offensive coordinator/receivers coach told Bucky Brooks of NFL.com that Jefferson was one of the best receivers he's ever studied, and believed he could be one of the safest picks in this class.
"He's one of the best receivers that I've ever studied in 40-plus years," the unidentified coach told Brooks. "He can do it all and has no fear and can play slot or outside. ... He's a baller who is much better than he's been credited. Trust me. The kid is a baller."
So far, it certainly looks like that coach was right.