WR Justin Jefferson Sounds Off on Vikings’ New Offense, Head Coach

Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings

Getty Justin Jefferson #18 of the Minnesota Vikings reacts after scoring a touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first quarter of the game at U.S. Bank Stadium on December 09, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

The Minnesota Vikings have pivoted to a new front office, head coach and offensive philosophy following two disappointing seasons, and wide receiver Justin Jefferson has plenty of thoughts on all of it.

The Vikings’ two-time Pro Bowl pass catcher spoke with NFL Network on Friday, June 24, and shared his views on both the new regime in Minneapolis as well as how it plans to approach moving the football.

Patrick Claybon of NFL Total Access asked Jefferson what has changed most since new general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah brought in former Los Angeles Chargers‘ offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell to lead the Vikings’ sideline as a first-year head coach.

“Our offensive style, it’s not a run-first offense anymore. Just us being able to put different people in different positions and distribute the ball really,” Jefferson said. “I’m so excited in this offense — us just being in OTAs learning the plays, going through it with our defense and stuff, so we’re all excited.”

The receiver went on to talk about how different things are inside the organization now that O’Connell has replaced the long-embattled Mike Zimmer.

“We’re all happy to have him,” Jefferson said of O’Connell. “It’s definitely a different vibe and different connection in the building with him there, and we’re just excited to start [the season] up.”

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Vikings’ Justin Jefferson Sets Sights on Hall-of-Fame Career

Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings

GettyWide receiver Justin Jefferson of the Minnesota Vikings plays against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on December 5, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Jefferson has set lofty goals for his team this season, as the Vikings appear the Green Bay Packers‘ primary competition for the NFC North Division title in 2022.

But after setting an NFL record with 3,016 receiving yards across his first two seasons in the league, not to mention 17 touchdowns, the wideout has even loftier expectations for himself.

At the end of the day, I want to be a Hall of Famer. So, in order to reach that, [there] is so much more that I have to accomplish, so much more that I have to set for myself to better myself and really to learn.

I just can’t wait to really just see how far I can really go. This is just the start of my career, and there’s just so much more I have to learn, so much more I have to do for myself to really get on that platform of being a Hall of Famer.

Vikings Bet on QB Kirk Cousins as Answer Under New Scheme

Justin Jefferson and Kirk Cousins

GettyWide receiver Justin Jefferson (right) of the Minnesota Vikings celebrates with quarterback Kirk Cousins (left) after scoring a touchdown during the first quarter of a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at U.S. Bank Stadium on December 9, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

If Jefferson and the Vikings are going to reach their goals, both this season and beyond, much of the responsibility is going to fall to quarterback Kirk Cousins.

Minnesota extended Cousins an extra year this offseason, and he is now under contract with the Vikings through 2023. The decision by Adofo-Mensah buys the Vikings a year to see what O’Connell’s offense will look like with Cousins at the helm, and will allow the franchise to move on from the QB next offseason without losing a valuable asset if they choose to do so.

While Cousins has been somewhat maligned throughout his career, both his traditional statistics and his advanced numbers suggest he is one of the best 10 signal callers in the game. For now, at least, the Vikings’ new leadership is buying in to what 33-year-old quarterback’s stat sheet is telling them — and that starts with Adofo-Mensah.

What we try to do is first and foremost get [Cousins] in the fold. I had a presentation with him: ‘Hey, you’re our partner in this. We’re trying to build this thing to have you be the best version of yourself, [Coach O’Connell] and I.’

Once we do that, then we can maybe go back and reassess where we are, but we think the best version of him and surrounding him with other things [gives] us a really good chance.

[Cousins is] a really good quarterback. Things are binary. Either you’re a champion or you’re not. Either you’re the [greatest of all-time] or you’re not. I don’t think that’s really how you successfully build teams. When you study historically what wins the NFL, special quarterback play does matter, but there are other ways to win.

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