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Justin Jefferson listed as a “dark horse” MVP candidate

Could it possibly happen?

Green Bay Packers v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

In his first two seasons in the National Football League, Justin Jefferson has established himself on the short list of the league’s best wide receivers. But could he potentially do something that is generally unthinkable for someone at his position?

I speak, of course, of being named the Most Valuable Player in the National Football League. No wide receiver has been named the MVP by the Associated Press since they started giving the award out in 1957. Jerry Rice was named the MVP by the Pro Football Writers Association and the Sporting News in 1987, but the AP award for that season went to John Elway. Only one non-quarterback has won the award in the last 15 years. . .that was Adrian Peterson, who needed to have a spectacular 2012 season to break that string.

Still, Adam Schein of NFL.com has put the Minnesota Vikings’ star on his short list of “dark horse” MVP candidates for the 2022 season. Here’s what Schein has to say about #18:

Perhaps the Vikings receiver doesn’t get enough credit for being one of the truly elite offensive players in the game today. If so, that’s a shame. I’ve voted him first-team All-Pro in both of his NFL seasons. I mean, look at this production:

Year 1: 88 catches for 1,400 yards and seven touchdowns.

Year 2: 108 catches for 1,616 yards and 10 touchdowns.

And he’s done that with a quarterback who doesn’t always play well when the sun goes down and a running back who doesn’t always play.

Minnesota can surprise people this year with a great new head coach and a fresh infusion of new energy. Jefferson is an alpha dog. His impact goes beyond even his gaudy numbers.

It’s hard for a wide receiver to even garner MVP consideration in many cases, given that their production is so heavily dependent on the play of their quarterback. However, the chemistry between Kirk Cousins and Jefferson is quite clearly there, as the numbers that Jefferson has put up in his first two NFL seasons can attest to. But it would take an incredibly special season for Jefferson to be considered in the running for MVP. . .the story from NFL.com currently has his odds at a cool 125-to-1.

Not that Jefferson isn’t capable of an incredibly special season. . .he absolutely is. But to overcome the Rodgers and Mahomes and Allens of the NFL, he would have to completely lap the field as far as production goes. I’m not sure if it could actually happen, but that certainly doesn’t mean that I won’t be rooting for it to happen.