The Philadelphia Eagles, with one phone call, could’ve employed Justin Jefferson for the first five years of his career. Instead, the Eagles said “no thanks” and chose Jalen Reagor from TCU in the 1st Round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Reagor now plays for the Vikings, too.
Since entry into the league, Jefferson has eviscerated box scores, tabulating 3,200 receiving yards in 34 career games. The mark is the best in the NFL since 2020, topping suitors Davante Adams, Cooper Kupp, and Stefon Diggs — yes, the same Diggs traded for Jefferson in April of 2020.
In fact, the Eagles Top 4 WRs per yards since 2020 — DeVonta Smith, Quez Watkins, Jalen Reagor, Travis Fulgham — have totaled 2,903 receiving yards to Jefferson’s 3,200.
Sep 11, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.
And Jefferson is happy being a Viking while equally as relieved not to land with the Eagles. Jefferson told reporters this week, “Every mock draft had me going to Philly. So when Philly was on the board, getting the phone call, and it being Minnesota, it was definitely a shocker.”
The LSU alumnus continued, explaining he’s happier in Minneapolis than Philadelphia, “But I’m definitely happy, way happier, to be here than there.”
Here’s the full clip:
“Every mock draft had me going to Philly. So when Philly was on the board, getting the phone call, and it being Minnesota, it was definitely a shocker. But I’m definitely happy, way happier, to be here than there”
-Justin Jefferson says he “can’t wait” for his first game at Linc pic.twitter.com/WLBxWrQaWo
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) September 17, 2022
Jefferson exploded in Week 1 of the 2022 regular season, slicing the Green Bay Packers for 184 yards and two touchdowns. He was also a big toe away from three touchdowns. Just like the since-2020 metric of leading the NFL in receiving, Jefferson leads all pass-catchers in receiving yards after Week 1 in 2022, too. Jefferson experienced his first game outside the confines of a Mike Zimmer-led run-first offense and simply snatched the most single-game receiving yards of his professional life. Not bad.
Feb 4, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.
Of course, the Eagles have reached the playoffs since 2020, and Jefferson has not — so it’s not all sunshine and rainbows for the Jefferson-Eagles parallels. But the Vikings and Eagles will show down on Monday night to determine an early frontrunner for NFC Championship contendership. In Week 1, the only NFC teams to win games were the Bears, Buccanneers, Commanders, Eagles, Saints, Seahawks, and Vikings. Ergo, whoever emerges from Monday Night Football as the victor, will join the winner of Bucs-Saints to formulate early NFC contenders with 2-0 records.
The Eagles are favored by two points to defeat the Vikings.
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Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).
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