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Justin Jefferson Catch in Vikings-Bills Wins ESPY Award for 'Best Play'


Justin Jefferson can add ESPY Award winner to his résumé.

The Vikings receiver was recognized Wednesday at the 2023 ESPN ESPY Awards, taking home the "Best Play" honor for his gravity-defying, 32-yard catch on fourth-and-18 at Buffalo last season.


With Minnesota trailing 27-23 just inside the 2-minute warning of regulation time, Kirk Cousins went for it all with a deep pass to No. 18.

Jefferson leapt into the air and managed to get the fingertips of his right hand around the ball, pulling it away from Bills cornerback Cam Lewis as the two fell to the turf. The astounding grab played a role in Minnesota's exhilarating come-from-behind victory over the Bills in Week 10.

"Just the way my body went up, him catching the ball in his hands and me taking it from him, the whole play was crazy," Jefferson said following the play. "But it starts with the o-line, with the blocking giving Kirk enough time to get me that opportunity to go up and make a play, but it's not just me. This is a collective team win."


Jefferson didn't have his teammates alongside him in Los Angeles but proudly accepted the award on stage, showing off that signature smile.

"Always dreamt of this moment, making these memorable plays," Jefferson said as he accepted the award. "Always gotta thank the man upstairs for allowing me to pursue my dreams. Also, I've got to thank my family for supporting me the whole way. All of the doubts that I've been receiving in my career from people who said I couldn't do it, I wouldn't do it, and they were the main ones that stood behind me the whole way, so I've got to thank them as well.

"There's so many things I want to accomplish and prove to myself," he added. "This is the start of it, but there's more to come for sure."

It's not the first time his catch has been honored; in February, it was named "Moment of the Year" at the NFL Honors ceremony. A photo of the play, taken by Vikings photographer Alli Rusco, was named Photo of the Year at the 2023 Hashtag Sports Awards.

Jefferson was one of four nominees for the Best Play ESPY, joining the following:

· Michael Block's hole-in-one in the 2023 PGA Championship

· UCLA's Ally Lemos with the perfect corner kick to tie the NCAA Women's National Championship game

· Florida's Trinity Thomas' Perfect 10 to tie the all-time NCAA record

Jefferson also was nominated for the category of Best NFL Player, along with Eagles QB Jalen Hurts, Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes and 49ers DE Nick Bosa.

View the best photos of Vikings WR Justin Jefferson during the 2022 season.

Prior to Jefferson, the Vikings had most recently been awarded an ESPY in July 2018. Case Keenum and Stefon Diggs received "Best Moment" for the incredible Minneapolis Miracle walk-off touchdown that lifted Minnesota over New Orleans in the Divisional Round playoff game.

Adrian Peterson won two ESPYs in 2013 when he took home the award for Best Comeback as well as Best NFL Player.