It appears that there are plenty of Minnesota Vikings fans that are very happy with the purple selecting LSU wide receiver Justin Jefferson with their first pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Are the experts around the internet just as excited?
Well, let’s take a spin around some of the “instant analysis” from draftniks around the internet and see what they think of the pick the Vikings made at #22 overall and find out, shall we?
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: “A” grade
I love this pick. He’s not (Stefon) Diggs, but he’s also not going to complain every play like Diggs did. I thought he would go before this.
Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: “A” grade
The Vikings get their replacement for Stefon Diggs to complement Adam Thielen in a similar way. Jefferson (6-1, 202 pounds), with massive production catching passes from Burrow, emerged in LSU’s passing game as a quick, efficient route-runner with good hands. He also has underrated speed.
Dan Kadar, SB Nation: “A+” grade
This might be my favorite pick of the first round. Some thought Jefferson could go as high as the 14th pick. For whatever reason, he slipped to 22nd. He torched defenses from the slot last year at LSU to the tune of 111 receptions for 1,540 yards. It’s true, the Vikings have Adam Thielen in the slot. But Jefferson’s game lends itself to playing more on the outside than he did in college.
Eric Edholm, Yahoo! Sports: “B” grade
Not wildly athletic or big, but Jefferson is a talented slot wide receiver for a team whose depth at that position had been pretty rough after the Stefon Diggs trade. Also has terrific hands and contested-catch skills.
Walter Cherepinsky, Walter Football: “A” grade
The need here is obvious, as the Vikings traded away Stefon Diggs, so they needed to replace him. Justin Jefferson is not someone who should’ve been available to them. The Eagles should have picked him, and Denver would have considered him at No. 15 had Jerry Jeudy not been available. The Vikings wanted K’Lavon Chaisson and A.J. Terrell, but they were still able to land a talented player who fills a big need at No. 22 overall.
Danny Kelly, The Ringer: “A” grade
After dealing Stefon Diggs to the Bills, the Vikings turned around and drafted his replacement. Jefferson announced himself in 2019 by breaking the LSU record with 111 catches while finishing second nationally with 18 touchdowns. The 6-foot-1, 202-pound pass catcher made his living breaking ankles from the slot, employing basketball-style moves as a route runner that consistently put defenders in a blender. Jefferson was unbeatable at the catch point. He’s fearless over the middle of the field, a force in the red zone, and plays with a chip on his shoulder. After operating primarily out of the slot for LSU, Jefferson will have to prove he can make plays on the outside as well (he lined up there in 2018), but the slender big-play receiver looks like a great fit for Minnesota and should be a focal point early in his career.
Jefferson certainly seems like a player that’s going to be ready to make an impact early on as a Viking. With Adam Thielen sure to draw most of the attention, Jefferson will have opportunities to make plays early and often in this Vikings’ offense.