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#pounditFriday, April 12, 2024

Kevin O’Connell thinks opponents are targeting Justin Jefferson

Justin Jefferson holding a ball

Sep 11, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) scores a touchdown on a pass from quarterback Kirk Cousins (not pictured) against the Green Bay Packers during the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell suggested that star wide receiver Justin Jefferson is getting a raw deal from opponents.

Jefferson was shaken up multiple times during Saturday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts, though he ultimately returned to the game every time he left. O’Connell clarified Monday that Jefferson is fine health-wise, but added that he believes opposing teams could be targeting Jefferson with harder hits.

One play from Saturday’s game, in which Colts cornerback Stephon Gilmore delivered a midair shot to Jefferson, particularly riled the Vikings at the time. Gilmore did receive a flag for the play.

O’Connell’s implication seems to be that teams want to rattle Jefferson, or at least make him a bit more wary when he goes to make a catch. Jefferson leads the league in receptions and receiving yardage with 1,623 yards, so it has not worked all that well, but O’Connell probably wants to put this in the minds of officials before the wide receiver gets hurt.

As for Jefferson, he just wants his touchdowns more than anything else.

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