Darius Slay got away with a slick move while defending Justin Jefferson on Monday night that should have resulted in a pass interference penalty flag being thrown.
The Minnesota Vikings had a 3rd-and-5 at their 30 early in the first quarter. Kirk Cousins attempted a pass to Jefferson on a quick hook. Just as the ball was coming, Big Play Slay grabbed Jefferson’s left hand and held it.
The move was slick because it’s hard for officials to detect and therefore easy to get away with. The best part was the acting job by Slay, who celebrated like he’s a big shutdown corner.
When you’re going up against Jefferson, you need to resort to any trick you can find. The third-year Vikings receiver had 9 catches for 184 yards and 2 touchdowns in Week 1. Last season, Jefferson had 108 catches for 1,616 yards and 10 touchdowns. In this case, Slay found a move that worked.
Jalen Hurts gave a Justin Jefferson a taste of his own medicine on Monday.
Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles drew first blood during their Week 2 matchup against the Minnesota Vikings. The Eagles star Hurts rushed for a four-yard touchdown on the opening drive of the game. After scoring, Hurts celebrated by doing the famous “Griddy” dance.
Jalen Hurts hit the griddy TD celly on JJ and the Vikings 😳
While the celebration might have seemed harmless, it was actually a clever troll of the Vikings receiver Jefferson. The “Griddy” has become a popular celebration among many pro athletes these days (even in other sports). But it was first popularized by Jefferson and former teammate Ja’Marr Chase at LSU. Since then, the “Griddy” has widely been associated with both players, especially since they continue to bust it out at the NFL level.
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
The Vikings selected wide receiver Justin Jefferson with the 22nd overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. That has proven to be a wise choice for Minnesota, but it wasn’t how Jefferson thought things were going to play out.
As the Vikings prepare to visit the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football, Jefferson has done a little reflecting. He admits that like many, he experienced his own draft day surprise that year. He fully anticipated going to the Eagles when they were put on the clock at No. 21 overall.
Instead, Philadelphia selected Jalen Reagor, leaving Jefferson for the Vikings.
As shocking as that moment was for Jefferson, it worked out just as well for him as it did the Vikings.
“I’m definitely happy, way more happy, to be here than there,” he said.
Jefferson was named Second Team All-Pro in each of his first two seasons and also made two Pro Bowl rosters. He put up more than 3,000 yards with 17 touchdowns and got off to an equally hot start this season, going for 184 yards and two scores in Week 1.
By comparison, Reagor has just 695 yards and three touchdowns in 29 career games.
Jefferson refused to call Monday night a revenge game, but admits he’s “exited” to silence Eagles fans.
Jan 19, 2020; Santa Clara, California, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) reacts following the loss against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Aaron Rodgers said perhaps the nicest thing that he has ever said to a Minnesota Vikings player after Sunday’s game.
Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers fell to the rival Vikings 23-7 in their Week 1 showdown at U.S. Bank Stadium. All-Pro receiver Justin Jefferson was the supernova for Minnesota, charcoal-grilling the Packers secondary for 184 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
After the game went final, Rodgers embraced Jefferson and told the 23-year-old that he was the “best player in the game today.”
Jefferson, already a two-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro selection in as many years in the NFL, established himself as one of the league’s very best wideouts in 2021. But as Sunday’s opening week onslaught proved, Jefferson may still have another level to reach under new Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell and O’Connell’s high-octane scheme.
As for Rodgers, that kind of praise from him for a Minnesota player is a pretty big deal. Rodgers is now an 18-year NFL veteran, has been division rivals with the Vikings all throughout, and suffered one of his worst career injuries at the hands of Minnesota. Jefferson must be pretty darn special to command that kind of respect from the State Farm man.
Feb 25, 2020; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; LSU Tigers receiver Justin Jefferson speaks during the NFL Scouting Combine at the Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson does not currently view himself as the NFL’s best receiver, but that could change after the upcoming season.
Jefferson told Complex’s Kameron Hay in an article published Thursday that Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams is currenlty the best receiver in the league currently. However, Jefferson expects to have something to say about it soon.
“I’ll say after this year I’ll be the best receiver in the NFL,” Jefferson said. “I definitely have to give it to Davante Adams as of now, him being so crazy and dynamic on the field. His route running is crazy, so I definitely have to give it to him right now, but I’m pretty sure after this year, it’s going to be me.”
Jefferson is certainly on his way to being in the conversation as the NFL’s best after an impressive first two seasons. The 23-year-old had the second-most receiving yards (1,616) last season, the fourth-most receptions (108) and finished tied for the sixth-most touchdowns (10) in 17 games.
Adams had the third-most receiving yards (1,553) in the NFL in 2021, but outpaced the two-time Pro Bowler in catches (123) and touchdowns (11). With a new offensive-minded head coach in Kevin O’Connell whom Jefferson is excited to play for, Jefferson’s game could reach new heights.
The Minnesota Vikings’ hire of Kevin O’Connell as head coach is clearly viewed as good news by the team’s star wide receiver.
Justin Jefferson spoke to NFL Network at the Pro Bowl on Friday about the team’s hire of the Los Angeles Rams’ offensive coordinator. The wide receiver was clearly enthusiastic about the hire, citing the fact that he enjoyed watching the Rams and even noting that he has never had an offensive-minded coach before.
“this is my first head coach that’s gonna be on the offensive side instead of the defensive side, so i’m happy”
“I’ve been watching the Rams offense for a minute now,” Jefferson said. “They get their playmakers the ball. They have some tremendous plays, Cooper Kupp wide open all the time. I’m excited for it. This is my first head coach that’s gonna be on the offensive side instead of the defensive side.”
Jefferson played for Ed Orgeron at LSU and came into the NFL with Mike Zimmer at the helm, both coaches with a defensive background. That makes it pretty easy to understand why the receiver would be so excited to play for someone whose specialty is the offense.
During a 34-31 win over the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 17, Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase tallied an impressive 266 yards receiving. That was good enough to set the NFL’s all-time rookie record for receiving yards in a single game.
Furthermore, those 266 yards gave Chase 1,429 receiving yards on the season. That, too, is an all-time rookie record.
But the record is a little extra sweet for Chase. Not only did it wipe out any memory of his preseason struggles, it also surpassed his former college teammate and close friend, Justin Jefferson, who had previously held the rookie record with 1,400 yards.
“It meant a lot,” Chase said during an appearance on The Herd. “It was a goal of mine. I had written it down and stuck it on my mirror … in college. It’s been with me ever since. Now, I get to go back and call Justin and rub it in his face a little bit.”
It’s all in good fun, though.
“That’s my guy. This is something we always talked about. It’s just a blessing to have the opportunity to be in this position,” Chase added.
Chase may have broken Jefferson’s all-time rookie record but the Minnesota Vikings wide receiver still has one up on his former LSU teammate. With one game remaining, Jefferson has 1,509 yards to Chase’s 1,429 yards.
Cooper Kupp shared a cool post on Twitter Sunday after his team’s win over the Minnesota Vikings.
Kupp’s Los Angeles Rams beat the Vikings 30-23 in Week 16. Kupp had 10 catches for 109 yards in the win. For the Vikings, Justin Jefferson had 8 catches for 116 yards, while Adam Thielen added 3 catches for 40 yards.
Following the game, Kupp shared photos of him with Jefferson and Thielen. His caption was simple: “artists.”
That caption is a very cool and shows how Kupp views what he, Jefferson and Thielen do. They’re more than just receivers. They’re more than just players. They are artists who work hard to perfect their crafts. And few are doing it better than them.
Kupp and Jefferson entered Sunday first and third in the league in receiving yards this season. Kupp also leads in receptions and touchdowns. Thielen entered with 10 touchdown catches on the season and also has had a pair of 1,000-yard seasons in the past.
The three men are among the best in the NFL at what they do, and Kupp seems to recognize that.
Beckham and Jefferson both played college ball at LSU. Jefferson was actually involved in the drama when OBJ handed out stacks of cash to LSU players after the national championship game two years ago.
Vikings cornerback Cam Dantzler, who grew up with Beckham in Louisiana, wore the same shirt:
Several #Vikings players out here in “Free Odell” shirts for warmups. This is Cam Dantzler, who grew up in Louisiana with Beckham. Justin Jefferson is also wearing one for his fellow LSU alum. pic.twitter.com/9LKKQIXF8U
The real question is whether Jefferson and Dantzler would have worn those shirts even if the Cleveland Browns did not agree to part ways with Beckham. That would have been an even stronger message, but we’ll probably never know.
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson had himself a phenomenal rookie season last year, and the former LSU star is looking forward to even bigger challenges in 2021.
Jefferson was a guest on the “All Things Covered” podcast this week, and he was asked if there is one cornerback he hasn’t faced yet that he is looking forward to lining up against. Without hesitation, Jefferson said he is already thinking about facing Jalen Ramsey.
The Vikings don’t play the Los Angeles Rams until Week 16, which is in late December. Jefferson probably shouldn’t look too far ahead, but Minnesota fans have to love that he is embracing the opportunity to compete with the best.
Ramsey is still widely considered to be one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, even if he was ruthlessly mocked for getting torched by a rookie last season. Jefferson had 88 catches for 1,400 yards and seven touchdowns last year. The matchup will certainly be one to watch.