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Vikings' Justin Jefferson Eyes 2K Yards This Year; Says He's Better Than Cooper Kupp

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJuly 26, 2022

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson said he's aiming to become the first player in NFL history to post 2,000 receiving yards in a single season in 2022.

"I hope so," Jefferson told Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press on Monday. "I think I can. Hopefully, everything goes right and I can get that 2,000. That's my goal."

Detroit Lions legend Calvin Johnson holds the all-time record with the 1,964 yards he posted in 2012. The Los Angeles Rams' Cooper Kupp came close last year with 1,947 yards.

While Kupp staked his claim as the NFL's best wideout with his standout showing in 2021, Jefferson told Tomasson the Las Vegas Raiders' Davante Adams still gets his vote as the top dog at the position, at least for now.

"Just because all that Davante Adams has done," he said. "I'm just showing my respect for him but agree that after the year I'll pass him."

As for Kupp?

"Coop is good, but I'll say he's behind me," Jefferson told Tomasson.

The 23-year-old LSU product is off to a tremendous start to his career with the Vikings. He's earned Pro Bowl selections in each of his first two NFL seasons while tallying 196 catches for 3,016 yards and 17 touchdowns in 33 games.

His yardage total is the highest in the league over the past two years, and he's hopeful the switch to new head coach Kevin O'Connell, who most recently served as the offensive coordinator for Kupp and the Rams, will open up the offense even more.

"[O'Connell] can do a lot," Jefferson told Tomasson. "He'll put me in different positions, put me in motion, put me in different spots to get the ball. So we're excited about this new offense. I feel great about all the different coaches coming into the building."

One thing that could prevent Jefferson from reaching his 2,000-yard goal is Minnesota's pass-catching depth.

Fellow receivers Adam Thielen and K.J. Osborn along with tight end Irv Smith Jr. are going to command a fair share of targets, and running back Dalvin Cook is also a factor in the passing game.

Last year, Kupp finished with 191 targets, and the next-highest total on the Rams was Van Jefferson at 89. It was a similar story for Johnson with the Lions in 2012, when he finished with 204 targets and next on the team was Brandon Pettigrew at 102.

It's hard to see Jefferson pushing toward 200 targets if all of the Vikings' main offensive playmakers remain healthy. If injuries arise, however, all bets are off and he could make that push for 2,000 yards.

Minnesota will kick off the regular season Sept. 11 when it welcomes the NFC North rival Green Bay Packers to U.S. Bank Stadium for a key Week 1 showdown.

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