Justin Jefferson was ranked No. 17 in NFL Network's "Top 100 Players of 2022" list on Sunday. But ESPN says the third-year Vikings receiver is much higher up on their version.
Jefferson cracked the Top 10 on ESPN's “NFL Rank 2022” that was recently released, landing at the No. 7 spot. The 23-year-old was listed at No. 36 in 2021.
Last season, Jefferson shattered his receiving numbers from his rookie year, recording 1,616 yards. The total was the second most in a season in Vikings history, just behind Randy Moss' mark of 1,632 in 2003.
ESPN Vikings reporter Kevin Seifert said Jefferson will continue to thrive under Head Coach Kevin O'Connell, who helped Cooper Kupp win the receiver triple crown and be named Super Bowl LVI MVP with the Los Angeles Rams last season. Seifert wrote:
Jefferson figures to line up in a wider variety of spots on the field and get the ball through an increased diversity of route types in the new scheme.
ESPN projects Jefferson to haul in 98 receptions this season for 1,367 yards and eight touchdowns, while adding 24 rushing yards.
Jefferson's teammates Dalvin Cook and Kirk Cousins also made the list.
Cook was ranked 81st after residing at the No. 52 slot last season.
Seifert said Cook, who turned 27 during training camp, could be incorporated into the passing game more. The Vikings likely will be mindful of making sure he gets scheduled rest throughout the season to keep the running back healthy.
ESPN projected Cook to rush for 1,142 yards and 10 touchdowns and add 359 receiving yards and a touchdown.
Cousins was listed at No. 89 after not being ranked in the 2021 version.
Seifert said the arrival of O'Connell will help Cousins take that next step at quarterback. The duo has worked together before, with O'Connell being Cousins' quarterbacks coach in Washington in 2017.
Ed Ingram 'trending' in right direction
Although he didn't play in the Vikings preseason finale against Denver on Saturday, right guard Ed Ingram could be on the starting offensive line the next time the team takes the field.
Ingram, a second-round selection in April's draft, has been battling with veteran Jesse Davis leading up to the season-opener against Green Bay on Sept. 11.
Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press wrote that Head Coach Kevin O'Connell could possibly be looking at starting Ingram despite sitting him out against the Broncos.
"It's been trending that way, but I thought Jesse did a lot of good things (Saturday), especially early (in the game),'' O'Connell said.
Both Ingram and Davis have seen time with the first team throughout training camp and the preseason. Davis started at left guard against the Broncos, playing 21 snaps. Chris Reed started at right guard Saturday, playing 34 snaps.
"The staff has a plan, and that's what we've been doing, sticking to it,'' Davis said. "I just show up and try to do my job and try to be a team player."