It’s arguably the dry spell of the offseason when Justin Jefferson’s talent gets discredited twice in one week.
No one knows why, but the NFL schedule hit the last week of June and it became reputation-hunting season for the reigning Offensive Player of the Year.
Justin Jefferson insulted twice in the same week
The most recent addition to Jefferson’s muddled musings was born on The Pat McAfee Show. The panel discussed Dalvin Cook’s free agency, a popular topic after the Vikings released Cook on June 9, and for some reason decided to attack Jefferson.
McAfee explained that Cook was still an elite soccer player and delivered him most of the credit for Minnesota’s offensive performance in 2022. McAfee said“Dalvin Cook was his offense, as the reason why I think Justin Jefferson has all the stuff because Dalvin Cook is in the backfield..”
Cook rushed for 4.4 yards per carry a season ago, the lowest output of his six-year career.
While Cook was productive in terms of volume—he ranked sixth in the entire league in rushing yards—his overall efficiency declined. He ranked bottom of the NFL in higher-than-expected rushing yards, which is probably why the Vikings didn’t keep him for 2023.
Minnesota also ran the ball as third under 32 teams in the NFL by snapping percentage last year, making McAfee’s argument all but worthless. Here’s the full McAfee clip for context:
A couple of days before McAfee’s announcement about Cook as the Vikings’ saving grace in 2022, Keyshawn Johnson ranked the league’s Top WR for the 2023 season on his ESPN radio show. His pecking order was as follows:
- Tyreek Hill
- davante adams
- Ja’Marr’s Pursuit
- Stefan Diggs
- aj brown
The show’s co-host, Max Kellerman, seemed to clarify Johnson’s list: “I would probably put Jefferson at four or five. Because he is very productive. You know, guys like Jefferson and Cooper Kupp, I agree with you, even if it’s the system or whatever when they’re in the right situation, they’re going to get a million receptions, a million yards, a million touchdowns.”
So if you keep the weekly tally at home, here’s the latest on Jefferson:
- He’s not a Top 5 NFL wide receiver.
- Jefferson was largely a product of the Viking system.
- Dalvin Cook, not Jefferson, was the team’s offense in 2022.
Jefferson won the 2022 NFL Offensive Player of the Year award, but in some ways he’s not a Top 5 pass catcher, he’s a product of his environment, even though he has encountered three different offensive coordinators in three seasons, and Dalvin Cook It’s the mystery special sauce.
Training camp can’t come soon enough.
dustin baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube channel, vikesnow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with raun sawh and spice salt. His obsession with Vikings dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos’, Basset Hounds and The Doors (the band).
All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.