For the first time in NFL history, players voted on their own All-Pro team in 2022, and the winners were announced on Wednesday.
The guidelines for NFLPA All-Pro awards are straightforward — players vote for players. Quarterbacks vote for quarterbacks, cornerbacks vote for cornerbacks, etc. Only one Viking earned the achievement in 2022 — and predictably, that was wideout Justin Jefferson.
Jefferson, 23, set a litany of Vikings records this season, including the most receiving yards and receptions in franchise history, surpassing Randy Moss and Cris Carter, respectively, along the way. The NFLPA All-Pro tabulated 1,809 receiving yards on 128 receptions with 9 total touchdowns. He led the NFL in receptions and receiving yards, edging Tyreek Hill, who floundered down the stretch of 2022 as the Miami Dolphins finished 1-5 in the season’s final six games.
Justin Jefferson Fires Up Another Beefy Achievement
The Vikings wideout spent the final few weeks of 2022 chasing Calvin Johnson’s elusive 1,964-yard single-season record and 2,000+ yards in a season but fell short because of quiet outings at the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears.
More importantly, though, Jefferson will get a crack at playoff football for the first time this weekend when the Vikings host the playoffs-starved New York Giants. New York hasn’t reached the postseason since 2016 and is a fashionable pick by some — it feels like everybody — to upset the Vikings, who are three-point favorites. Jefferson is also sitting on two smallish games in recent weeks and may be due for a breakout in his postseason opening salvo.
But Jefferson will sniff the playoffs no matter what, and he’ll own the fancy NFLPA recognition forever. Here’s the full list of NFLPA All-Pros:
In December, the aforementioned Cris Carter called Jefferson the best wide receiver in Vikings history, an astounding revelation because of Minnesota’s rich WR history. Carter joined the Up and Adams show last month and said, “I do believe [Justin Jefferson] and Randy Moss are neck-and-neck, but Justin can do so many things at an elite level. It is what it is.”
The former Viking assuredly placed Jefferson’s resume above his own, citing Jefferson’s supreme athletic ability. And he also seemed to endorse Jefferson over Randy Moss, a man widely considered the best Vikings wideout in team history and perhaps league history.
The official All-Pro awards, voted on by the Associated Press (AP), Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA), and Sporting News, will be revealed later this week. Jefferson is considered a lock for the traditional All-Pro recognition.
Jefferson will turn 24 in June and is expected to land a monstrous contract extension in the coming months.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).