Justin Jefferson joined Bleacher Report and had a lengthy interview. He also answered questions submitted by fans, and one of them wanted Jefferson to name the top five wide receivers in the NFL. Jefferson delivered, like he always does, and didn’t just name them. He ranked them.
1. Davante Adams
According to Justin Jefferson, the top wideout in the NFL is Davante Adams. The two receivers don’t play in the same division any longer, but the NFC North wasn’t the only similarity between the two. Their production is on an elite level, too. Since 2017, Adams has led the league in receiving yards and touchdowns.
He had a blind understanding with his former quarterback, Aaron Rodgers. In the upcoming season, and will now reconnect with his college quarterback, Derek Carr. The duo was so dynamic that they found a way to make Fresno State interesting for national viewers of college football. Adams is 29 years old, and father time is still undefeated, but he has plenty of juice left and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. The number one ranked receiver is no longer a problem for the Vikings after his departure.
2. Justin Jefferson
Jefferson ranks himself in the second spot on the list. That means he still thinks he can get even better. His first year was historic, and his second year was historic. His production is unmatched. Receivers don’t come into the league and record 3,016 receiving yards in their first two seasons. It’s an NFL record.
Since he came into the league, he also leads all NFL players in receiving yards, despite only having the seventh most catches during that time. He added 17 touchdowns to his numbers. His career started with two games coming from the bench and not much playing time. In game three, his first start, he had 175 receiving yards against the Titans. That performance transforms the decision of not letting him play in the first two weeks into a true head-scratcher.
3. Cooper Kupp/Ja’Marr Chase
Jefferson didn’t want to choose just one of them. He puts two guys in the third spot, and they meet each other in the Super Bowl. Cooper Kupp had a sensational year in 2021. He slightly missed the single-season receiving record of Calvin Johnson. Kupp led the league in receiving yards, touchdowns, and catches and therefore earned the triple crown. In the Super Bowl, he caught the game-winning touchdown. His 33 catches in the postseason are a new NFL record. The 478 yards and six touchdowns rank him second, only behind the legendary Larry Fitzgerald. The Rams wideout started as a fundamentally sound slot receiver, but he transformed into a lot more than that.
Ja’Marr Chase, on the other hand, hit the ground running and was one of the top receivers in the league as early as Week 1 when he scored a touchdown and had 101 yards against the Vikings and Beshaud Breeland. The cornerback had no chance against the rookie. Chase broke Jefferson’s rookie receiving record and had 1,455 yards. His average of 18 yards per reception and 13 touchdowns show his explosiveness.
Interestingly, Jefferson and Chase, the two most talented receivers to come into the league in years, were teammates at LSU. Paired with Joe Burrow at quarterback, the team unsurprisingly won the national title. Both young receivers had over 1,500 yards in that season and combined for 38 receiving touchdowns. Chase needs 1,561 yards in his sophomore campaign to tie Jefferson’s record in the first two seasons.
5. Stefon Diggs
Like Jefferson, his fifth-ranked receiver started his career as a draft selection of former Vikings general manager Rick Spielman. The interesting part is that Spielman used the exact pick he got in return from the Bills for trading Diggs away to draft Jefferson. Diggs was successful in Minnesota, but his production increased in Buffalo. The pass-first system and the sensational quarterback Josh Allen helped him post career numbers. He recorded over 2,700 yards and 18 touchdowns. His best season, however, came in 2020 when he led the NFL in receiving yards. In 2021, his stats decreased by almost 300 yards despite an extra game.
Tyreek Hill comes to mind. Hill had a phenomenal run in Kansas City with Alex Smith and Patrick Mahomes. The speedster opens up the whole offense because a cornerback always needs safety help against him and most teams have to play zone coverage. The problem with that against the Chiefs is that Travis Kelce just dominates zones. However, Hill now plays for the Dolphins. The question marks are his new offense and how long his speed can stay the same despite getting older.
Deebo Samuel changed how some in the NFL look at a wide receiver. He played a mix of wideout and running back, which was a huge success. 1,400 yards and six touchdowns through the air are great numbers by themselves. On the ground, he added 365 yards and eight scores. Also, his average of 6.2 yards per carry is absolutely sensational. It will be interesting to see if he continues to play in his hybrid role, despite getting hit a lot, but he’s great in that role.
Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. He chose the Vikings as his favorite team, despite Christian Ponder being the quarterback at the time. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt