Justin Jefferson Passes Odell Beckham Jr. for Most Receiving Yards in 1st 2 Seasons

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVDecember 26, 2021

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) runs up field during the second half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams, Sunday, Dec. 26, 2021, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)
AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn

No wide receiver has been more prolific through his first two NFL seasons than Justin Jefferson.

With eight catches for 116 yards in Sunday's 30-23 loss to the Los Angeles Rams, the Minnesota Vikings star moved ahead of Odell Beckham Jr. for the most receiving yards through the first two years of a player's career.

B/R Gridiron @brgridiron

Justin Jefferson is SPECIAL. <a href="https://t.co/jRaxlaTt7X">pic.twitter.com/jRaxlaTt7X</a>

Per Stathead, Beckham (2,755) entered the day as the all-time leader. He had a 20-yard edge on Jefferson.

Jefferson knew the stakes Sunday going into the contest. 

"Need 21 yards," he told reporters in reference to Beckham's mark. "Definitely been keeping the tabs for that."

The two-time Pro Bowler is probably savoring the fact he leapfrogged his friend and fellow LSU alumnus, thus giving him bragging rights in perpetuity. 

Beyond the yardage record, Jefferson said he was "excited" to matchup against Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who's widely regarded as one of the best at his position.

"I feel like I live for these moments, ever since I was a kid, just going up against that top guy," he said. "I’m a natural competitor. … To me, it’s a statement game for me considering myself one of the top receivers in the league and solidifying myself. Definitely ready for it."

Jefferson certainly made the most of Sunday's game.

When the Vikings traded Stefon Diggs away in March 2020, it was fair to raise concerns about the state of their passing game going forward. But they used one of the draft picks they received from the Buffalo Bills to take Jefferson at No. 22 overall in the 2020 NFL draft.

So far, things have worked out well in Minnesota.

Some Vikings fans might be wondering whether Jefferson might have another level to reach, too, if a quarterback other than Kirk Cousins is running the offense in 2022 and beyond.