Vikings’ Cris Carter Casts Doubt on Justin Jefferson’s Legacy

Justin Jefferson

Getty Vikings legend Cris Carter casted doubt that anybody, even Justin Jefferson, will break Jerry Rice's records.

Cris Carter has heaped nothing but praise on Minnesota Vikings wide receiver  Justin Jefferson.

The Hall of Famer went as far as saying Jefferson is the greatest receiver in franchise history — even above himself and Randy Moss.

But when it came to the only rank Jefferson could ascend among the upper echelon of players at his position, Carter struck down Jefferson’s chances at carving out a legacy that could match San Francisco 49ers legend Jerry Rice.

Cris Carter Says Nobody Will Touch Jerry Rice’s Records, Including Vikings WR Justin Jefferson

Appearing on the Up and Adams Show on December 12, Carter ranked the greatest Vikings wide receiver and placed Jefferson atop Minnesota’s totem pole — even above Moss and himself.

“Randy’s done it. I’ve done it. Justin Jefferson has the ability to be better. He does things at a higher level than we could do. Can he sustain those things? That’s up to him,” Carter said. “Randy Moss is a bad dude, a first-ballot Hall of Famer so it’s not to talk bad about Randy, but it lets you know how good Justin Jefferson is.”

Host Kay Adams, who was shocked at Carter’s willingness to say Jefferson could be the greatest Vikings wide receiver of all time, upped the ante with no other wideouts higher up than Rice.

“Are we putting [Jefferson] in the conversation with Jerry Rice, whose records are unbreakable,” she asked.

“No, he’s not going to compete with Jerry Rice, no one ever is going to compete with those numbers,” Carter replied. “You’d have to have 10, 1,500-yard seasons and three 2,000-yard seasons and you’re still short.”

Rice, who played 21 seasons in the NFL, has a monstrous 22,895 receiving yards and 197 touchdowns — both records that are untouchable by Carter’s estimation.

Time is the Only Test for Justin Jefferson

It’s extremely lofty to suggest Jefferson could ever touch Rice’s records, but through nearly three seasons we have an idea of the type of career the 23-year-old could achieve.

Jefferson broke the rookie receiving yards record that stood for 17 years in 2020, posting 1,400 receiving yards as a 21-year-old. He bucked the prospect of a sophomore slump, racking up 1,616 receiving yards last season to claim the most receiving yards (3,016) by a player in their first two seasons.

When all’s said and done for the 2022 season, Jefferson will claim the same record for a player through their first three seasons, currently 228 yards shy of 5,000 career receiving yards with two games remaining. That’s impressive at 23-years old, considering Rice had 927 receiving yards at the age of 23.

Regression is out of the question for Jefferson at this stage of his career. Jefferson is beating defenses that are devoting at least two defenders to cover him on every snap.

And with Jefferson’s ability to execute every tool at his disposal at an elite level, he’s going to find ways to win even in his old age.

That’s the only question left for the 23-year-old: Can he stay healthy and maintain a high level of consistency?

Jefferson has yet to miss a game in his career.

He has a long way to go if he’s going to rival Rice, who played well until he was 41 and posted 1,848 receiving yards in 1995 at the age of 33.

However, Jefferson is on an unprecedented pace, and the direction the NFL is going is only encouraging for Jefferson.

Player health and safety have become a priority. New rules continue to favor more offense in an increasingly passing-heavy league. Jefferson could excel much like Rice and Carter did in their 30s.

Will he play for two decades? He’d probably like to, but most likely not.

We’re still a decade away from even considering if Jefferson could surpass 20,000 career receiving yards. However, if he’s still playing well into his 30s, there’s a possibility he could rival Rice.

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