Rams’ Super Bowl MVP Claps Back at Justin Jefferson

Cooper Kupp

Getty Cooper Kupp after winning Super Bowl 56.

Much like his rookie campaign when he vowed to make every team that passed on him in the draft pay, Minnesota Vikings star Justin Jefferson is attracting more antagonists in his rise to NFL stardom.

In a national interview with Complex.com, Jefferson said he felt he was the second-best receiver in the league, behind only former Green Bay Packers receiver DaVante Adams, who was traded to the Las Vegas Raiders in March.

Jefferson was speaking presently, later adding that he expects to overtake Adams as the league’s best receiver by the end of the 2022 season — a statement he clarified with the Pioneer Press.

“Of course. I mean, that’s the goal,” Jefferson told the Pioneer Press’ Chris Tomasson. “That’s the confidence level, and I just feel like with the year that I’m going to have that, I’ll be the best receiver… I’m just showing my respect for him but agree that after the year I’ll pass him.”

But what about Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp, who led the league in receptions (145), touchdown catches (16) and yards (1,947) — becoming the first player to capture the receiving triple crown since 2005.

“Coop is good, but I’ll say he’s behind me,” Jefferson told the Pioneer Press.

Jefferson’s comments caught the ear of Kupp, who still believes he’s the better receiver over the rising Vikings star.

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‘I Would Hope He Would Say That’

Speaking with Pro Football Talk’s Michael David Smith in an article published on August 4, Kupp, like any competitor, disagreed with Jefferson.

“I respect his opinion and I can also respectfully disagree,” Kupp said. “I would hope he would say that. I think that’s the beauty of this game. I think it speaks to the competitiveness of this league.”

Kupp understood Jefferson’s mindset — that to be the best you have to believe you’re the best.

“If you’re not putting yourself as the best, and you’re not working to be the best, then I’d be concerned about stepping on the field with you, if you don’t feel like you’ve prepared to be the best player that you can be,” Kupp added.

In a clip from Brandon Marshall’s I Am Athlete podcast, Kupp did offer Jefferson credit, ranking Jefferson the second-best receiver in the league in a poll where he could not include himself.

Kupp has a Super Bowl ring and the statistics on his side for the moment. However, under Kupp’s former offensive coordinator, Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell, Jefferson has been speculated to take on the “Kupp role” in an offense that could see new heights under an offensive-minded head coach.

“(O’Connell) can do a lot,” Jefferson said. “He’ll put me in different positions, put me in motion, put me in different spots to get the ball, So we’re excited about this new offense. I feel great about all the different coaches coming into the building. Everybody’s having a great connection with all the players.”

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What might it take for Jefferson to overtake Adams (and Kupp?) as the undisputed No. 1 receiver in the league?

Jefferson has a lofty goal in mind: 2,000 receiving yards.

In his interview with the Pioneer Press, Jefferson revealed his goal this season is to become the first wide receiver to ever surpass 2,000 receiving yards in a single season.

“I hope so,” Jefferson said. “I think I can. Hopefully, everything goes right and I can get that 2,000. That’s my goal.”

After questions arose about whether Jefferson would undergo a sophomore slump following his 88-reception, 1,400-receiving yard rookie season, the Vikings receiver upped the ante, catching 108 passes for 1,616 yards in 2021.

Whether there’s still more meat on the bone for Jefferson remains to be seen, but he’s already worked wonders in his two years in the league — posting the most receiving yards (3,016) in a player’s first two seasons in league history.

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