On today's episode of the Pat McAfee show, Pat made an unserious comment about Justin Jefferson that shows just how out of touch he is when it comes to the Minnesota Vikings.
The future hall of fame punter turned ESPN analyst thinks Justin Jefferson wouldn't have the same level of production without Cook. “Dalvin Cook was their offense, like the reason why I think Justin Jefferson has [that kind of production] is because Dalvin Cook is in the backfield.” said McAfee.
His argument is that the Vikings offense ran through Dalvin Cook, who forced defenses to load the box which cleared the way for Justin Jefferson to have an MVP caliber season. In reality, it was the other way around. The Vikings offense ran through Justin Jefferson, with Kevin O'Connell doing everything in his power to design plays that got the ball in the hands of his best player as much as possible.
Opposing defenses responded to this by double teaming Jefferson, thus forcing the Vikings to rely on Adam Thielen and K.J. Osborn to win their individual matchups, which is something they failed to do on a consistent basis. Then, whenever the Vikings tried to lean on the running game, they were extremely inefficient. Dalvin Cook's rushing efficiency compared to the rest of the league has been on a steady decline since 2019, and Minnesota ranked 29th in rushing yards per game in 2022.
The Vikings were also top 3 in passing attempts per game last season, which further suggests that Cook was not the workhorse running back that McAfee thinks he is. Don't get me wrong, Dalvin Cook is a talented player, but he is not the reason behind Justin Jefferson's success. Jefferson would've put up very similar stats regardless of who was in the backfield in 2022 because of the team's passing volume and how much the Vikings offense is centered around him.
I understand that Cook is a big name free agent that is generating a lot of press right now, but minimizing Justin Jefferson's impact in order to fit a narrative is straight up disrespectful.