Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson has been under the microscope of fans trying to pen him with the diva label.
The same day he was named NFC Offensive Player of the Month, Jefferson was asked if he feels the need to watch his body language being perceived as frustration with Kirk Cousins after his hot mic episode against the Detroit Lions went viral last year.
Jefferson addressed the rumors in a press conference on Thursday, Dec. 2, striking down any ruminations that there’s a divide between his quarterback and him.
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‘That’s Not in My Character’
The diva narrative has overshadowed Jefferson since Stefon Diggs’ grievances with the Vikings’ offense were spotlighted by national media last year.
Jefferson had a message for fans seeing what they want to see.
“It’s just all about knowing who you really are. A lot of people in this building know what type of person I am. So me ‘being a diva’ or ‘wanting too much’ that’s not in my character that’s not who I am,” Jefferson said. “I just love to win, love to compete and love to be a part of this game.”
After a frustrating loss to the San Francisco 49ers last week, videos have surfaced of Jefferson’s missed connections with Cousins, speculating the second-year receiver has already had enough of playing in Minnesota.
“I don’t worry about too much of the outside noise,” he said. “These guys in this (locker) room know what’s going on in the huddle and the plays being called. It’s really all the connection with me and Kirk. At the end of the day, as long as we’re on the same page, then we’re all good.”
The duo showed they were on the same page numerous times last month. Jefferson reeled in 24 receptions for an NFL-leading 464 yards and three touchdowns in November to win the NFC Offensive Player of the Month honors — the first Vikings receiver to win the award since Cris Carter did in November 1999, per Vikings.com.
Jefferson has gone to bat for his quarterback several times this offseason, including when Deion Sanders took a shot at Cousins on a Verzuz episode.
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Vikings Offense Hinges on Cousins-Jefferson
After Jefferson made just five catches in back-to-back losses to the Dallas Cowboys and Baltimore Ravens a month ago, the Vikings have made getting the ball to him a top priority.
And it’s shown, both on the stat sheet and the win-loss column.
Jefferson tallied 17 catches for 312 receiving yards and two touchdowns combined in wins over the Los Angeles Chargers and Green Bay Packers. He caught four passes for 83 yards in the 49ers’ loss on Sunday.
The Vikings are 4-0 when Jefferson has gone over 100 yards this season, although Jefferson would be the first to tell you he’d rather see team success over individual accolades.
“It’s good to be the player of the month, but our record needs to be better,” he said. “We need to play better as a team. Player of the month is cool, but Id’ rather (have) the wins.”