During a two-minute drill towards the end of Thursday’s practice, Cousins dropped back and lasered a pass to Jefferson, who rose about third-year cornerback Mike Hughes and had safety Anthony Harris approaching.
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) August 20, 2020
Most of Thursday’s practice was done at 75 percent speed, per The Athletic’s Arif Hasan, but it was an encouraging play for the rookie wideout who hopes to flourish as the Vikings replacement for Stefon Diggs, who was traded to the Bills this offseason for several picks, including the No. 22 pick overall that was used to draft Jefferson.
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Jefferson Coming Along, Comfortable in Practice
There have been numerous reports that Jefferson has been everything he’s lived up to in training camp. Playing in a pro-style offense at LSU, Jefferson won a national championship with the Tigers, leading college football in catches (111) and contested-catch percentage (92.3).
NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero visited training camp on Tuesday and found that Jefferson has been a sponge at practice.
“One thing they really liked about him was his intelligence. They are not holding anything back with him,” Pelissero said. “I am told they are cross training him at every position. They envision him as a versatile piece who can move around the offense.”
Jefferson told local media that the Vikings run a similar style offense as LSU.
“We pretty much ran the exact same offense [at LSU], just different terminology,” Jefferson said. “Actually being in that pro-style offense last year, it kind of helped me with what I’m going through now. It’s kind of easier to pick up plays, concepts, so just being here is kind of making my life a little bit easier.”
Offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak vouched for Jefferson’s affinity with the Vikings offense.
“You can see the signs he shows you right away of knowledge of things he’s been taught, and I’ll go back to the fact that he’s been coached very, very well at LSU. I know Jerry Sullivan. Jerry’s one of the top wide receiver coaches I’ve ever been around,” Kubiak said. While the hype for Jefferson has been growing and his role in the offense looks fluid, he’s committed to helping however he can.
“I’m here to do whatever I need to do. They have some great receivers here; we’re looking to do some great things,” Jefferson added. “The more that I do in practice – showcasing my skills, showcasing my talent – I guess we’ll just see the first game.”
Jefferson’s Trademark TD Celebration Is Catching On
After Jefferson scored in Thursday’s practice, running back Dalvin Cook ran to him and greeted him with ” The Griddy,” Jefferson’s trademark touchdown that is becoming increasingly popular among teammates.
Jefferson and fellow first-round pick, cornerback Jeff Gladney, put on a show for the cameras walking to practice earlier this week.
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) August 18, 2020
The move, which looks like a mix between hopscotch and a horse trot, originated from a friend in New Orleans where Jefferson played high school football. It’s become synonymous with Jefferson’s fun-loving nature towards the game.
“Nobody really knows it. Nobody really does it. So I was just like, ‘All right, let me make this into my own little thing in college football’,” Jefferson told The Athletic.
In a game against Mississippi State, opposing players were mocking the dance during pregame warmups. Jefferson had the last laugh in the Bulldogs endzone.
A bit of history for @LSUFootball.
Joe Burrow sets the school's single-season passing TD record with his 29th of the year…and it's only LSU's 7th game. pic.twitter.com/n1ZGdWnM6b
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) October 19, 2019
Already catching on at the professional level, Jefferson looks to have a good shot at hitting “The Griddy” at the NFL level this season after his connection with Cousins in practice.
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Trevor Squire is a Heavy contributor covering the Minnesota Vikings and journalism graduate from the University of Minnesota — Twin Cities. Connect with him on Twitter @trevordsquire and join our Vikings community at Heavy on Vikings on Facebook.