Vikings WR Justin Jefferson bolsters claim with career-best performance in win over Bills
Justin Jefferson was taken aback in July when he said he would be considered the best wide receiver in the NFL after the 2022 season. The Vikings funded the bold offseason statement after Sunday's stellar performance in Buffalo, with a big smile when asked if he thought Week 10 was indeed the case.
“Of course, of course,” Jefferson told Pam Oliver of FOX Sports after 33-30 overtime win on the bill. “I think I said it today.”
In Minnesota's incredible win in Buffalo, Jefferson had 10 catches for a career-high 193 yards and two touchdowns. According to NFL Research, it was Jefferson's 20th career receiving game with more than 100 yards, tying with Odell Beckham and Hall of Famer Randy Moss for the most in the previous three seasons player of.
Jefferson's extraordinary day was highlighted by an improbable one-handed steal in the fourth quarter that saved Minnesota from its first loss. With two minutes remaining in the fourth and 18th quarters, Jefferson made it 50-50 and Bills cornerback Cam Lewis draped over him. The spectacular 32-yard reception took Minnesota from its own 27-yard line to Buffalo's 41 and expanded the Vikings' hopes late in the game.
Vikings coach Kevin O'Connell said after the game that Jefferson's catch was a game only a few could make in such a critical situation, and the Vikings could only dream of a draw.
“One of the most dramatic catches I've ever seen,” O'Connell said of the play. “He's such a special, special player. I'm so proud of the way Justin has fought with so many different looks and so many different reports all season. To be there again and again when we need him today, we're really really Lucky to have Justin and the script he made for us today. “
Fittingly, Jefferson's career against Minnesota traded its former star WR before drafting a LSU product in 2020. Bills wide receiver Stephen Diggs was a viable argument against Jefferson's claim and supplemented that claim with a game-high 12 catches on Sunday in a 128-yard losing effort.
After Week 10, Jefferson ranks second in the league in receiving yards (1,060) and fourth in the league in receiving (69) while increasing his total touchdowns by four. Regardless of the eventual controversial outcome, Jefferson's involvement in the debate at age 23 was a feat in itself.