Minnesota Vikings rookie Justin Jefferson vowed that every team that passed on him in the 2020 NFL Draft would pay.
“Every single person that picked a receiver instead of me are going to pay,” Jefferson said on The Zach Gelb Show on CBS Sports Radio. “I’m going to show them that I am the better receiver.”
While his comment was media fodder, Jefferson, the sixth wide receiver selected in the draft at No. 22 overall, has lived up to his words by sparking controversy in the Philadelphia Eagles organization.
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Eagles at Odds After Passing on Jefferson
The Eagles, who selected TCU receiver Jalen Reagor a pick before the Vikings selected Jefferson, haven’t nearly seen the same return from Reagor, who has struggled with injuries and is just getting up to speed this season. Reagor has 19 catches for 222 yards and a touchdown on the season, while Jefferson has 52 catches for 918 yards and 6 touchdowns.
NFL Insider John Clayton reported an “internal rift” inside the Eagles organization, saying some wanted to draft Jefferson over Reagor.
“They’ve done a terrible job as far as drafting wide receivers,” Clayton said. “I was even hearing last week that’s there been internal rifts about drafting Jefferson versus Reagor with some wanting Jefferson, and Jefferson being one of the best rookies in the league this year and Reagor just starting to come around but not doing well.”
Reagor, who is coming into his own, has had to answer to fans and reporters poking at why he has not developed at the same trajectory as Jefferson. Fans have thrown the figurative batteries at the rookie wide receiver as the Eagles franchise continues to be in disarray following their Super Bowl win in 2017-18.
Jefferson has outperformed all of the receivers selected ahead of him in Henry Ruggs III (12th to Raiders), Jerry Jeudy (15th, Broncos), CeeDee Lamb (17th, Cowboys ) and Reagor.
Vikings Leadership Shares Thrilled Reaction to Eagles’ Blunder
While both rookie’s future careers are still unwritten, it seems for their first season that the Vikings capitalized on the Eagles’ blunder in a moment that proved to be one of the most animated of the draft.
When learning the Eagles had picked Reagor, both coach Mike Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman couldn’t wipe the grins off their fans as they wasted no time to declare Jefferson their pick at No. 22.
Jefferson has been the runaway top rookie wideout in his class, producing 245 more receiving yards than the second-most productive wide receiver, Tee Higgins.
The one counter to Jefferson’s success has been rookie Chase Claypool who has 10 combined touchdowns on the season. Jefferson has continued to chip away at the gap between him and Claypool’s scoring after Jefferson found the end zone twice against the Panthers last Sunday.
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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.