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Lunchbreak:'s Schein Predicts Monster 2022 Season for Justin Jefferson

Just two seasons into his NFL career, Justin Jefferson has established himself as a superstar.

The Vikings wide receiver has racked up 3,016 total receiving yards thus far, making him the only player in league history to eclipse the 3,000-yard mark in a player's first two years.

He also has 196 career catches, which is tied with Michael Thomas of the Saints for the most receptions through two seasons to start a career.

View the best photos of Vikings WR Justin Jefferson from the 2021 season.

Along the way, Jefferson has set other records, too, so it's not as if the league hasn't taken notice of him.

But Adam Schein, a columnist for, included Jefferson on his list of nine bold predictions for the 2022 season, proclaiming that he will rank in the top three in receptions, receiving yards and touchdown catches.

To Schein's point, Jefferson hasn't ranked in the top three of all of those categories in a single season yet. (He was second in yards in 2021 with 1,616).

But even Schein noted his prediction with Jefferson wasn't the boldest on his list given the stardom the 22-year-old already enjoys.

He wrote:

I think Kirk Cousins will enjoy the best year of his career under new head coach/play caller Kevin O'Connell. Consequently, I see Jefferson piling up around 120 catches, 1,600 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Honestly, those numbers aren't even that bold. Shoot, in his first two NFL seasons, he averaged 98 grabs, 1,508 yards and nine scores. And that was with Mike Zimmer as his head coach — you know, the guy who was obsessed with running the ball more? Those days are over. And Jefferson's time is now.

Jefferson has also been named a Second-Team All-Pro by the TheAssociated Press in each of his two seasons with the Vikings.

Schein also included the Packers and Bears among his projections. His full list of predictions can be found here.

Smith, Jr., among La Canfora's 2022 breakout candidates

A year ago, Irv Smith, Jr., was featured on almost every list imaginable when it came to breakout candidates for the 2021 season.

A year later, many believe Smith still has untapped potential, mostly because he was on a strong track until a preseason meniscus injury cost him all of last year.

Smith has been working his way back this spring, taking part in the majority of Organized Team Activity practices while also working with trainers off to the side.

The goal is for Smith to be fully ready for training camp and the regular season, where Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports expects that breakout year to happen.

La Canfora recently included Smith on his list of six players to watch entering the 2022 season.

He wrote:

I was super high on this young man making the leap a year ago and he was well on his way until a season-ending injury wiped it all out before it began. He was starting to form a bond with Kirk Cousins. He was putting his hands and athleticism together. He remains the only real tight end on the roster, and he will have a chance to feature in what should be a very explosive offense. I believe new coach Kevin O'Connell will help him tap into his potential.

Smith, a 2019 second-round pick, has 66 career catches for 676 yards and seven scores.

The Vikings will see a handful of players on La Canfora's list in 2022, as he also included Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, Buffalo wide receiver Gabriel Davis and Indianapolis edge rusher Kwity Paye, all of whom are on Minnesota's 2022 schedule.