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Justin Jefferson’s Greatest Attribute – Vikings Territory


Jun 7, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

All Vikings fans and fans of the NFL, in general, know how good Justin Jefferson is at football. He was a first-round draft selection for a reason. Most fans would be quick to post his stats. However, Justin Jefferson’s greatest attribute has nothing to do with his stats.

The one thing he does better than almost anyone is beat press coverage. Not only does he beat press coverage, but he is the second-best producer against press coverage in the league. The only player that ranks higher than him is AJ Brown.

However, there is one interesting caveat between Brown and Jefferson. Jefferson is pressed far more frequently. In fact, he is pressed more than 2x more frequently than Brown.

This is truly remarkable. Even more so when you consider that analysts leading up to the 2020 draft said he struggled against press coverage. The fact that Jefferson once struggled, even remotely, against press and then turned out to be one of the best wide receivers in the league against press is something to behold.

This says a lot about the wide receiver coaching staff for the Vikings. It is why Adam Thielen was pounding the table to keep Keenan McCardell amongst the chaos of coaching turnover.

The big question now is, how does Jefferson improve, and how does O’Connell use this attribute to get the most out of him?

How the O’Connell Scheme Will Get Justin Jefferson the Ball

Justin Jefferson Confirms What Folks Knew about Vikings 2021 Offense
Justin Jefferson

One thing that we will not be able to learn until the season begins is how much of the Rams offensive success in 2021 had to do with McVay or O’Connell. The obvious answer is that McVay controlled the play calling, tempo, and more of the offense. However, O’Connell certainly played a major role in their success.

The question is, during the pregame planning, did O’Connell assist in play sequencing, or was he the X’s and O’s guy? The answer to this question will play a significant role in how the Vikings’ offense performs in 2022.

Nonetheless, we know that O’Connell will find creative ways to get Justin Jefferson the ball. Don’t be surprised if we see plays designed to get Jefferson 1 v 1 with a cornerback.

However, because of Jefferson’s ability to beat press-man coverage, it would not be a surprise to see formations that force the defense to move personnel to the opposite side of the field as Jefferson. This would likely get him 1 v 1 on a cornerback. Or if the defense doubles Jefferson, the other skill players can take advantage.

Regardless of how O’Connell approaches the offensive scheme, Jefferson will get the ball. Hopefully, he does so by allowing Jefferson to do what he does better than nearly every receiver in the league. Beat press-man coverage.

If O’Connell’s scheme can be as successful in Minnesota as it was in LA, 2022 will be a great year for the Vikings. Vikings fans should have a little glimmer of hope that the new coaching staff can take us to the promised land.

Mitch Massman is a life-long Vikings fan. His first heartbreak was the 1998 NFC championship game. His full-time job is as an economic development professional in rural Minnesota. He fantasizes about the Vikings winning a Super Bowl one day, but until then he will write about the Vikings. Follow him on Twitter @skol_vikings3


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