There’s going to be plenty of gloom and doom to go around after the Minnesota Vikings’ 34-28 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 2, so we’re going to take a bit here to highlight something positive. And, as is the case with most things concerning the Vikings, this one involves wide receiver Justin Jefferson.
With his 10-catch, 159-yard performance on Thursday night, Jefferson now sits at 5,134 career receiving yards. He tied Hall of Famer Lance Alworth for the fewest games needed to surpass the 5,000-yard career receiving yard mark, doing so in his 52nd career game. He also joined Randy Moss as one of only two players to reach 5,000 receiving yards before the age of 25.
Moss had 5,396 receiving yards prior to turning 25 years of age. Given that Jefferson will have this entire season to build on that mark. . .he won’t turn 25 until next June. . .he’s certainly going to surpass that number and, barring injury, will be the first receiver to have 6,000 career yards before the age of 25.
Or, you know, 7,000 career yards, given that he’s averaging 154.5 yards/game this season, which puts him well ahead of what he’d need for the 2,000-yard season he was chasing for most of last year. I’m not sure he’ll maintain that pace throughout the season. . .in fact, I’m quite sure that he won’t. . .but I’m guessing that 2,000 yards is certainly going to be in play for most of the season.
But the most unique stat from Jefferson’s night involves one of the Vikings’ NFC North rivals: the Chicago Bears.
The Bears have been around in some form since 1920, and have been a part of the NFL since 1922. That’s over 100 years of Chicago Bears football, during which they have had who knows how many wide receivers catching passes for them.
In just 52 career NFL games, Justin Jefferson already has more career receiving yardage than any player has ever had in a Chicago Bears uniform. Ever.
The Bears’ all-time leading receiver is a man by the name of Johnny Morris, who played for the team for ten seasons from 1958 to 1967. In 121 games with the Bears, he amassed 5,059 receiving yards. That’s still good enough to put him at the top of the heap as the Bears’ all-time leading receiver. And Jefferson has passed him up in a hair over three seasons and less than half of the games that Morris played.
Yes, it’s a different era now than it was then, but that’s still a pretty mind-boggling statistic.
So, even if the Vikings are going through a bit of a rough stretch to start the 2023 season, at least Justin Jefferson is still really, really good. That’s something that isn’t likely to change any time soon.