Minnesota Vikings tend to play a networked version of Russian roulette With WR3, so expectations for Justin Jefferson’s sophomore season are paramount. If something happens to him due to injury or his fellow racer, Adam Thielen, the Minnesota attack will take a heavy punch as the withdrawal to WR3 goes from a talent perspective. In other NFL offenses, WR3 often receives a nod when injuries show up to fill in WR2’s boots — and shine. It feels like a matter of staying on the WR2-to-WR3 ramp if Jefferson or Tylenn loses.
Jefferson’s prognosis for the second year can only be speculated. And history is the best reference source, which means future performance.
The rookie receiving record was broken by Jefferson in 2020, with 1,400 yards and seven touchdowns. On his way to that distinction, Jefferson passed Odell Beckham, Randy Moss, and Anquan Bolden.
Here’s a look at how these guys performed in their respective second seasons.
Rising = 91 Rec / 1,305 Rec Yds / 12 TDs
Second student = 96 Rec / 1450 Rec Yds / 13 TDs
11% yard increase / 8% TD increase
The 2015 Odell Beckham was better than the 2014 Odell Beckham. And that screwed him up?
In a not-too-good team, Beckham and the Giants finished 6-10 in his second season. Beckham collected 28 more goals that year from Eli Manning than in the junior season. He has made the most of these goals.
The LSU graduate (the same Jefferson School) increased his pickup and landing yards, cementing his position as a wide receiver. First Beckham three The years were his glory days as injury marred the 2016 seasons.
But as an example of sophomore improvement, Beckham improved most of these three men—a trend that Jefferson seeks to emulate.
Rising = 69 Rec / 1,313 Rec Yds / 17 TDs
Minor = 80 Rec / 1413 Rec Yds / 11 TDs
Increase 8% yards / 35% dip TD
Moss switched to a more typical WR1 in 1999. His season was the season of acrobatic legend, and he broke [and keeping 23 years later] The novice’s record for the touchdown hit by the pass pass. With Randall Konigam and Jeff Gerrog at the helm, Moss has embraced his fateful role as a future big star. Not only did he throw deep balls, Moss started catching ‘normal’ balls like his friend Chris Carter.
He was targeted 13 times more in 1999 than in 1998, dropping yards per catch by a sharpshooter while rising his receiving yards. The 17-TD’s total wouldn’t return until 2003, which was Moss’ last healthy season with the Vikings.
Rising = 101 Rec / 1,377 Rec Yds / 8 TDs
Minor = 56 Rec / 623 Rec Yds / 1 TD
55% yard dip / 88% TD dip
No relegation fan like Moss mentioned earlier – which is likely why Moss remains legendary – Bolden ripped him off in the junior season. He’s the player that Jefferson stole the record from in 2020.
Bolden’s big drop in 2004 was due to injury. He missed six full games, dropping his goals from 165 in 2003 to 104 in 2004. His production was set to drop as the target load went down. Interestingly, Bolden’s sophomore year in 2004 was coached by Dennis Green, who spent 10 years as a Vikings captain.
After a injury-laden 2004 campaign, Bolden rebounded in 2005 with the best season of his career, racking up 1,402 yards and seven points. Arizona finished year 5-11.
If Bolden’s injury is subtracted from the equation, rather than acknowledging the 2004 season by totals per game, this is roughly what Jefferson has in store based on history:
97 reception / 1500 receiving yard / 6 TDs