December 9, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson, 18, celebrates in the second quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers at US Bank Stadium. Compulsory Credit: Brace Hemelgarn – USA Today Sports
While doing some research for a different part, I found a pretty wild status for Justin Jefferson.
Jefferson is responsible for 45.27% of the Vikings’ air yard, according to NFL Next General statistics. This is the highest percentage in the NFL.
Some of the reasons for this insane percentage are that Adam Thilan missed four matches. As a result, the Vikings had to rely on less established players for that WR2 spot. KJ Osborn has done well, everything has been considered, but he is still not at the stage of Thilen. It is also worth noting that Minnesota was working without Kyle Rudolph and Arv Smith Jr. as the former was with a new team and the latter was injured throughout the season. Cousins’ TE1 and TE2 were thus unavailable from the previous year
Even still, it’s a significantly higher number. Justin Jefferson was About half At the Minnesota Air Yard.
One wonders, then, if a little less Jefferson could lead to more dynamic crime. More diversity and balance is, in general, a good thing. Now, they are not an end in themselves. If the best thing is to keep feeding Jefferson, there is no need to balance. Still, Kevin O’Connell needs to ask himself if the separate distribution of airyards would be a good thing.
Perhaps more emphasis on some other weapon will help Jefferson become more proficient in a few less touches. Of course, getting some health goodies from Thilen and Smith will help here. One also has to imagine that seeing more contributions from the running back in the passing game could help reduce Jefferson’s burden.
Another angle is that the Vikings could probably reduce the percentage of Jefferson’s team’s overall air yard and still pay him as much (or more) attention. For example, if the team gets better at maintaining the drive, they will have more opportunities to play and target other players. Jefferson’s yards may remain the same but his percentage in the team as a whole may decrease.
Anyway, this is another way to show that Justin Jefferson had a very impressive season in 2021. Hopefully, the third year wideout is just beginning. As hard as it is to believe, he is still only 22 years old. It is possible that he will continue to improve.
Editor’s note: This section originally appeared Purple PTSD.