Los Angeles is home to the Walk of Fame, but it was Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson who starred in Tinseltown Sunday afternoon.
Jefferson may not have scored a touchdown, but he racked up nine catches for 143 yards to help Minnesota notch a 27-20 win on the road.
Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer told Jefferson earlier this week to expect the ball after totaling just five catches over Minnesota's past two games, back-to-back losses against the Cowboys and Ravens.
"I told him, 'You have to do something for me, and that's come out here and practice real hard and do the things you're supposed to do, and study and be precise in your routes, and we're gonna get you the ball,' " Zimmer recounted.
"He always shows up," he later added of Jefferson. "He didn't get many balls last week. I know that he was very frustrated. So, I meet with [quarterback Kirk] Cousins every week and kind of tell him what we need to try to do."
Jefferson's longest catches of the day were a pair of 27-yarders in the second half. His second of the two – and arguably his biggest play of the game – occurred in the fourth quarter on third-and-6. Cousins saw 1-on-1 coverage and launched the ball down the sideline to Jefferson, who made an incredible grab over cornerback Tevaughn Campbell.
Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley challenged the officials' ruling of a completed catch, but replay clearly showed Jefferson getting both gold-cleated feet in-bounds and maintaining control of the ball.
"I didn't think they were going to overturn it. I knew I caught it," said Jefferson of the clutch first down with under three minutes remaining.
The 22-year-old doesn't ever doubt his ability to make something happen.
"I have that type of confidence every game. When the ball is thrown my way, try to go make a play. Making a big play for my team, moving the ball up the field," he told media members. "So whenever I have that opportunity, I'm making the most of it."
Jefferson didn't have a catch longer than 10 yards until five minutes into the second quarter, when Cousins connected with the wideout for an 18-yard gain on third-and-15. From that point on, things really started clicking. Cousins went deep over the middle three plays later and again found an open Jefferson, this time for a 21-yard gain. That drive was capped by a Greg Joseph field goal to give Minnesota a 6-3 lead.
"We were doing some middle routes. They were playing a lot of 2-high [safeties] and leaving the middle open," Jefferson explained, "so some great play-calling of getting us the ball in open space and letting us work."
On the following possession by the Chargers, Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks intercepted Justin Herbert on the first pass, giving the ball back to Minnesota.
The Vikings have struggled this season to capitalize off turnovers, but not this time. Jefferson made another 21-yard play to the red zone, and four plays later Cousins fired a short touchdown pass to tight end Tyler Conklin.
Jefferson emphasized the importance of Cousins trusting him to make plays in all kinds of situations. When Cousins is willing to take that chance, it more-than-often pays off.
"Having a look that we go over in practice and [Cousins] just saying, 'JJ over there. Let me go throw it up and him make a play.' I like when he does that. It gives me the chance to go up and make a play for the team.
"He's a smart quarterback. He gives the opportunity when he needs to," Jefferson added. "He just needs to go out there and keep playing. Trust his guys. Just like we trust him, and I think we'll be pretty good."
Cousins in return spoke quite highly of Jefferson.
"He's such a great football player that it's just important that we target him, get the ball in his hands and let him make plays. He showed why he's a great player again today," Cousins said.
"Certainly, you built a rapport with him over time and better understand him as a player, better understand what he's capable of, and I think that rapport will only continue to grow in the games up ahead," he continued. "Love getting to play with both him and Adam [Thielen]. We've got so many guys I can talk about who make great plays for us."
Cousins said many of his throws to Jefferson were in instances of single coverage.
"Most of the times I worked him, he was not doubled; most of the times I didn't work him, he was," Cousins said. "So I guess they didn't double him just enough to give us the opportunities to give him the ball. They were pretty intentional about putting a safety over the top of where he was lining up and we had to get creative with the routes he would run, how we could still get him the football."
Jefferson's big outing marked a season high and the third time he's surpassed 100 receiving yards so far this year. It was his third-highest career total, as he had games of 175 and 166 yards last season.
The Vikings improved to 4-5 and have eight games remaining, during which Jefferson certainly will be looking to continue that type production.
Minnesota is 4-0 this season when Jefferson has at least seven receptions and 0-5 when he has six or fewer.
"This game stressed giving me the ball, giving me the opportunity to go up and make a play," Jefferson said. "And I'm definitely grateful for that and for making those plays."