The Vikings traded for the second-year wide receiver from LSU, and he instantly became a fan favorite. But does this mean they’ll be winning games?
The “what team is odell beckham on” is a question that has been asked a lot in recent weeks. Justin Jefferson, who was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings, is following in Odell Beckham Jr.’s footsteps and it’s good news for the Vikings.
It’s not always a nice thing to compare a rookie wide receiver like Minnesota Vikings Justin Jefferson to Odell Beckham Jr. these days. Beckham is on his way to his third club, having been released by both the New York Giants and the Cleveland Browns.
However, following a string of underwhelming seasons, it’s easy to forget how thrilling Beckham was when he first arrived in the NFL with Big Blue in 2014. The Vikings’ new star is helping to remind us how amazing the now-problematic wideout was when he first came into the league. Jefferson just achieved a significant milestone, but it pales in comparison to what Beckham accomplished early in his career.
Odell Beckham Jr. had a fantastic first three seasons of his career.
Odell Beckham Jr. is the only NFL wide receiver who has achieved national notoriety outside of Randy Moss.
In his debut year, the No. 12 overall choice in the 2014 draft out of LSU took the Big Apple by storm. In his first season, Beckham had 91 receptions for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns. With 108.8 yards per game, he was also the leader in that category.
On Nov. 23, 2014, he made a career-defining reception against the Dallas Cowboys, which was the highlight of his debut season. The one-handed, diving backward grab remains one of the most iconic in NFL history, helping to enhance OBJ’s reputation as much as, if not more than, his stellar stat line.
Beckham’s second season was an improvement on his already remarkable first. He grabbed 96 passes for 1,450 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2015. Beckham continued his league-leading performance in his third season, catching 101 passes for 1,367 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Beckham hurt his ankle in 2017 and was forced to miss the remainder of the season. Injury and team troubles would hamper his Giants career from there. Those first three seasons, on the other hand, are still considered among the finest in the position’s history.
Justin Jefferson set a new record as the second-fastest receiver to reach 2,000 yards in NFL history.
Justin Jefferson has exceeded 2,000 career receiving yards with a 50-yard reception touchdown in his 24th professional game.
He is the second-fastest player in the Super Bowl history to surpass 2,000 career receiving yards, behind only Odell Beckham Jr. (21 games).#Vikings
November 7, 2021 — NFL Research (@NFLResearch)
Justin Jefferson, like Odell Beckham Jr., attended LSU. In 2020, the Minnesota Vikings selected him in the first round, much as they did with Randy Moss two decades before. Jefferson, like these two receivers, wasted little time in establishing himself as one of the game’s top pass catchers.
Jefferson trounced opponents and put up great stats in his first season, which was unlike any other in NFL history thanks to COVID-19. He was named to the Pro Bowl after catching 88 passes for 1,400 yards and seven touchdowns last season.
On a personal level, his sophomore season is off to a strong start. Jefferson has 46 receptions for 632 yards and four touchdowns after nine weeks in 2021. In a last-second defeat against the Baltimore Ravens, he surpassed 2,000 career receiving yards with a three-catch, 69-yard, one-TD effort.
It’s incredible that he’s accumulated over 2,000 receiving yards in just 24 career games. Moss, his teammate, required 26 games to reach that milestone.
There is just one player in NFL history who has surpassed 2K receiving yards faster than Jefferson.
You guessed correctly.
OBJ accomplished this feat in only 21 games.
Will Jefferson, like OBJ in New York, someday feel dissatisfied in Minnesota?
Odell Beckham Jr. and Justin Jefferson (L-R) | Nick Cammett/Getty Images; Stephen Maturen/Getty Images
What began as a promising union between an outstanding wide receiver, a franchise quarterback, and one of the NFL’s top teams eventually fell apart, leading to a trade and the current Odell Beckham Jr. scandal.
Beckham grew dissatisfied with the Giants’ coaching staff, which had changed from Tom Coughlin to Ben McAdoo to Pat Shurmur during OBJ’s tenure there, as well as aging quarterback Eli Manning, after three years with the team.
Despite his efforts, the WR was dissatisfied with the team’s sole participation in the playoffs in his five seasons in New York.
Before the 2018 season, Beckham agreed to a five-year, $95 million contract deal with the G Men. He did, however, force his way out of town after just a year.
Jefferson has just spent a year and a half in the league. From a professional standpoint, though, there are already similarities between him and Beckham. Both of these guys have lost early in their careers, in addition to having equally flashy stats.
Jefferson’s Vikings have a 10-14 record thus far.
Like the Giants, the head coach (Mike Zimmer) and quarterback are both to blame for the team’s lack of success (Kirk Cousins).
Cousins will most likely stay in Minnesota for at least another year (he owes $45 million in 2022). There’s a fair likelihood, however, that Jefferson will have a new coach next season. If the Vikings don’t recover and reach the playoffs, Zimmer will almost certainly be fired.
So Jefferson has a subpar quarterback, the possibility of a revolving door in the head coach’s office, and a rising persona and (perhaps) ego driven by early success. Does this ring a bell?
Jefferson should remember what OBJ had to learn the hard way. On the other hand, the grass isn’t always greener on the opposite side (or at the other franchise).
Pro Football Reference provided all stats.
RELATED: Why the Browns are Better Without Odell Beckham Jr.: An Old-School Former Coach ‘Would you be happier if you had eight catches and we lost or three catches and we won?’
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