A lot of people. . .including, quite frankly, a lot of Minnesota Vikings fans. . .did not expect wide receiver Justin Jefferson to have the kind of impact that he had in his first NFL season. The fifth wide receiver off the board last April, Jefferson griddied. . .that’s a verb now. . .his way to the top of the NFL record books by setting a record for most receiving yards as a rookie in the Super Bowl era. He also has more receiving yards in a season that any Vikings receiver not named Randy Moss, and he’s just getting started.
Our friend Justin Melo. . .who got us an interview with Dalvin Cook a couple of months ago. . .has scored one with #18 as well. You can see the interview below, wherein Jefferson talks about the great season he just had and where he thinks the purple are heading going forward.
JM: We have Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson with us here today at The Daily Norseman. We’re excited to touch on a number of topics. I can’t imagine starting this interview any other way. You set the NFL record for the most receiving yards (1,400) by a rookie in NFL history. Did you think that goal was within reach before the season started?
JJ: I’m going to be honest with you, it’s very difficult to just assume that something like that may happen. It took 18 years for somebody to break that record (Anquan Boldin, 2003). It definitely wasn’t something that I thought about doing. You can’t think like that in your first season.
With that said, I’ve always been a confident player. I’ve always played with a certain amount of swagger. I’ve always trusted in my abilities. I knew that I would go out there and take what I could get. Kirk [Cousins] gave me opportunities to make so many big plays.
JM: The offense really clicked down the stretch, especially after the bye week. How can you guys carry that momentum over into the 2021 season?
JJ: We just have to keep that same fight. The energy that we had during the second half of the season, we need to find a way to replicate that from the get-go this time around. We found our swagger down the stretch. You saw it on the field. The results spoke for themselves.
The offense played with a lot more swagger and energy than we did during the first few games. As long as we stay healthy next season, we should all be ready to go. If we don’t have any fans in the stands once again, we need to bring that energy for every game.
JM: You’ve partnered with M&M’S who have this amazing new Super Bowl commercial. I’ve seen it and it’s awesome. There’s always something special about these Super Bowl ads. What are your thoughts on the commercial?
JJ: I love the commercial. With everything we’re talking about doing together, we want to connect people around the world. There’s so much going on with the global pandemic right now. We could all use a little more joy in our lives and that’s what M&M’S is trying to bring. We’re just trying to have some fun with our loved ones. We all deserve that right now. I’m excited to partner up with M&M’S for this.
JM: I love that. The team is currently searching for a new offensive coordinator. What are some of the things you’d like to see incorporated into next year’s offensive scheme?
JJ: I just want the offense to be designed to give our playmakers opportunities. Every player on offense wants to like and enjoy the plays they’re tasked with executing. That’s a given. Second of all, we want opportunities to make big plays. As long as we put everybody in position to make those plays, we should be able to get the ball in the hands of our playmakers.
JM: Which part of your game do you think grew the most over the course of last season?
JJ: I think I got more versatile as the year went on. As the season grew older, I definitely started playing with more confidence. I played with more swagger. I wasn’t overthinking everything anymore. I just tried to stay patient. I waited for the plays to come to me. I stayed true to myself. At the end of the day, I played like myself. I wasn’t trying to play like anybody else. I didn’t let anybody make me feel like I had to force it.
JM: Do you have a favorite memory of the 2020 season?
JJ: Yeah, I definitely do. The third game against Tennessee [Titans]. That was my first start of the season. I had 175 yards and a big, memorable touchdown. That was the spark of my season. It gave me the confidence to do what I did the rest of the year.
JM: Is there anything you think you could have done better?
JJ: I could have done a lot of things better. I could have gotten open on a few more plays and made a few more catches. I could have run certain routes with a bit more precision. I have a lot to work on this offseason. I’m trying to get better right now.
I’m definitely looking forward to coming back in and working on the things I need to improve. I’m going to identify those areas of my game that need more work on film and focus on them. I’m very mindful of that. I’ll be reviewing the tape of my rookie season. We’ll take it from there. I plan on being a better version of myself next season.
JM: You obviously had a breakout season as a rookie. In closing, which of your teammates do you think is most likely to break out in 2021?
JJ: I have so many teammates that I feel like deserve this shoutout. We have a lot of guys that you need to keep your eye on in 2021. I think most of our breakout stars next season will be on the defense. We have a lot of talent on that side of the ball. We had a lot of injuries there. A lot of these guys are gonna’ come back healthy and make their presence felt. A lot of them are going to step up to the plate next season.
M&M’S is all about using fun to connect people, which we know has been incredibly tough this year. That’s why they’re back in the game with a brand-new commercial, which is all about the fun M&M’S is known for. Head to mms.com/superbowl to check out the new Super Bowl spot.
M&M’S also opened a brand-new store at Disney Springs in Orlando. The new M&M’S Store at Disney Springs is another example of how M&M’S inspires fans to find ways to connect with each other, and how Mars Wrigley continues to seek opportunities to provide better moments and more smiles for fans.