EAGAN, Minn. — Justin Jefferson is able to placed on a present.
No, not the one you’re considering of — not simply but anyway. Let’s keep within the current for the second.
Jefferson’s household is coming to city this week for the Vikings’ practices at TCO Performance Center. And if the 23-year-old isn’t exact with each project, he’s going to listen to from his most demanding coaches once they’re all again at his home on the finish of the day.
“You already know there’s going to be a lot of critiquing when I get back to the house,” Jefferson mentioned with the smile that’s taken over Minnesota for the previous two years. “I’ve got to have every route on point, every catch on point.”
So yeah, Jefferson isn’t prepared to provide them any fodder for criticism. Not after the offseason he simply had.
“It is definitely good to see them in my habitat and seeing what I do best,” Jefferson informed The Athletic. “I love showing them routes, showing them different things I’ve done in practice, just giving them a little taste for what I got this upcoming season.”
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) July 29, 2022
And that’s the true present, the one Jefferson has vowed to unveil in entrance of the world.
It’s a daring declare, particularly in mild of a receiver revolution that has taken over the league lately. But Jefferson has a degree.
He’s acquired extra receiving yards (3,016) than anybody on the planet over the past two seasons and ranks seventh with 196 catches and tenth with 17 touchdowns. He additionally ranks first in yards per catch (15.4) among the many 51 gamers within the league with no less than 111 receptions since 2020. Jefferson has additionally executed it for a crew that hasn’t ranked within the high 10 in passing yards in both of his two seasons.
So now, about that present — first, the one this week, after which, the one past — it comes again to household. They inspire him in each the brief and long run. He desires to be the perfect for them.
For his brother, Jordan, who spent 4 days with the Buccaneers in 2012 however by no means acquired again into the NFL. For his brother, Rickey, who spent a while with the Raiders and Saints however by no means performed a recreation.
“My brothers have been a main factor,” Jefferson mentioned about his motivation for greatness. “My household, them taking part in soccer earlier than me, them displaying me the ropes, being there for me, supporting me all all through the best way. For them to not be on the identical stage as me, I positively do it for them. We all had that dream as little children taking part in within the yard.
“To be the first one in the first round, to be on the team and be this high of a receiver is definitely something special in my family.”
That’s why, when Jefferson declares his intentions to be the perfect within the league, there’s a real that means behind the phrases. He believes it’ll occur. He intends to make it so.
“I always have that goal of being a Hall of Famer,” Jefferson mentioned. “No Hall of Famer is not the best at what they do. The stuff I’ve done already, the stuff I’m looking forward to do in the future, I just want to be the best and be known for being the best. I definitely feel like it’s coming up.”
He doesn’t lack for confidence as a result of he’s labored to realize it.
“It’s really just keeping my head up top and just wanting to be the best,” Jefferson mentioned.
Jefferson had a brief offseason. He wanted to get again to work.
He refined his stability, his explosion off the road, his arms and his work towards one-on-one protection. In his thoughts, these had been a couple of of his weaknesses.
Then there was the arrival of head coach Kevin O’Connell, who spent the earlier two seasons because the Rams offensive coordinator. O’Connell is anticipated to rejuvenate the Vikings’ offense, and he FaceTimed Jefferson throughout his first day within the workplace.
“My biggest thing with him from day one,” O’Connell informed The Athletic, “you will do as much as you’re capable of handling from a mental standpoint, and he has been phenomenal from the jump of really diving in and learning this, learning how we want to play, watching the tape.”
Jefferson and O’Connell acquired collectively to look at a ton of movie. Of course, there have been lengthy classes on the Rams offense, notably on receivers like Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods, however Jefferson didn’t simply slim his concentrate on particular gamers. O’Connell plans to maneuver Jefferson everywhere in the offense, so the wideout labored to realize an understanding of each place and each idea.
The O’Connell component is big, too. Like coach Sean McVay’s offense with the Rams, O’Connell is working to implement ideas that may naturally unencumber Jefferson from defensive coverages with the thought of lowering the burden of getting to continuously beat coverages which can be bearing down on the Vikings’ most explosive receiver. To an extent, it’s the same strategy the Rams took with Kupp when there have been 80,000 individuals within the stadium who knew the place the ball was heading.
“It’s been great,” Jefferson mentioned. “It’s been crazy to witness from this point of view. Watching the Rams last season and seeing the different plays they did, seeing Cooper Kupp wide open so many times, it’s a phenomenal thing to happen here with the team and this new style of offense.”
If Jefferson achieves his aim of reaching the receiver pinnacle, a monetary reward will comply with. The market exploded this offseason with Adams, Tyreek Hill, Kupp, A.J. Brown, Stefon Diggs, DK Metcalf, Deebo Samuel, Terry McLaurin, Mike Williams and Chris Godwin all signing offers in extra of $20 million in common annual worth.
He’s conscious of his colleagues’ accomplishments in that regard, however Jefferson isn’t involved a couple of new deal at this level, contemplating he isn’t eligible for one till subsequent offseason.
“I love it,” Jefferson mentioned. “I love it that it’s coming now. All of the top receivers are getting paid this year. The future is very bright. Definitely, the market is getting higher. At this moment, I’m trying to focus on winning the Super Bowl. After the Super Bowl, we can definitely talk more about that.”
Jefferson has extra urgent targets in thoughts.
He’s preparing for the present.
(Photo: David Berding / Getty Images)