Jefferson posted a career-high 12 catches for 154 yards in a 29-22 win over the Chicago Bears on October 9, moving atop the receiving yards leaders list with a league-high 547 yards on the season. Just five weeks into his third season, Jefferson has 236 career catches, breaking Moss’ franchise record (226) for the most catches through a player’s first three years.
Jefferson’s performance was another testament to his dominance since entering the league in 2020, however, he’s after more than numbers and chasing Moss’ records.
Vikings’ Justin Jefferson ‘Trying to Be Like’ Randy Moss in a Different Way
After the Vikings’ win over the Bears on October 9, Jefferson admitted he’s “trying to be like” Moss but in his contributions toward his team’s success — not just his statistics.
“I’m trying to be like him,” Jefferson said of Moss, per Star Tribune reporter Andrew Krammer. “It’s definitely great to have the seasons I’ve been having but, you know, we got to get to that playoffs, get to that Super Bowl. That’s the main goal of our season. Not the accolades and not the touchdowns and all that.”
Jefferson makes a solid point. Throughout his two seasons and 33 career games, the Vikings had never had a winning record. Moss on the other hand, helped Minnesota reach an NFC Championship game his rookie year and made two more postseason appearances before his departure in 2002.
And for a player like Jefferson who won a national championship in college, winning is the only thing that matters — and he’s lending a helping hand aplenty early in the season.
Jefferson’s 10 catches in the first half led the Vikings to take an 11-point lead at halftime. However, the Bears played soft coverage on Jefferson and played solely deep coverage — limiting the Vikings star receiver to just two catches for 16 yards in the second half.
That led to the Bears scoring 19 unanswered points to crawl back within a possession of Minnesota.
Jefferson saw just one reception on the Vikings’ 17-play, game-clinching scoring touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter. While the drive was an encouraging note to leave on, Jefferson wants more from the offense after struggles finishing drives in the second half.
“We can’t have just one touchdown in the second half,” Jefferson said. “I feel our defense played great the whole game. We just have to help them out a little bit more.”
Justin Jefferson Could Become the Only NFL Player to Reach Land
Before the start of the season, Jefferson issued a challenge for himself to become the league’s top wide receiver over Davante Adams, who he said is the best entering the 2022 season.
For him to do that, Jefferson said 2,000 receiving yards, which has never been done in NFL history, would be needed.
And through five weeks, Jefferson is approaching being on pace of that number despite the lowest output of his career — three catches, 14 yards — against the Detroit Lions in Week 3. He is currently on-pace for 1,860 receiving yards this season.
Jefferson is also on pace to break the NFL record for most catches through three seasons, which is 321 receptions currently held by New Orleans Saints star Michael Thomas. Jefferson is on pace to finish the season with 136 receptions, which would set his three-year total at 332 career catches.
But most importantly to Jefferson, the Vikings at 4-1 are off to their best start since 2016, and he’s making a strong statement of his impact on their success.