View the frame-by-frame shots of Justin Jefferson's first career touchdown he hauled in during the Week 3 Vikings-Titans game at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Justin Jefferson's historic outing against the Titans was overshadowed by the Vikings third straight loss to start the season, but the rookie's performance absolutely was a silver lining.
Jefferson's 175-yard day proved that the former LSU standout, whom the Vikings drafted 22nd overall, is as-advertised.
Analytics site Pro Football Focus recently rolled out its 10 highest-graded rookies through Week 3, and Jefferson landed at No. 2 on the list. PFF's Anthony Treash wrote:
Jefferson had one of the most impressive rookie breakout games in recent memory this past weekend against the Tennessee Titans. The former LSU star produced a 93.8 PFF grade for the game, taking home PFF Offensive Player of the Week and PFF Rookie of the Week honors.
Jefferson's dominant outing was actually the third-highest-graded game by a rookie wide receiver in the PFF era (since 2006). He caught seven of his nine targets for 175 yards, one touchdown, 78 yards after the catch and seven first downs, with five catches and 131 yards coming against single coverage — an impressive number for a first-year pass-catcher.
Jefferson's production at LSU almost always stemmed from finding a hole in zone coverage as opposed to winning in 1-on-1 scenarios. And that's what makes this performance all the more impressive.
Ranked above Jefferson was Patriots guard Michael Onwenu, a sixth-round draft pick.
Jefferson was the only Viking on Treash's list, but Minnesota fans will recognize another name: Buccaneers safety Antoine Winfield, Jr., who landed at No. 5. The 22-year-old son of Vikings Legend Antoine Winfield played for the Golden Gophers before being drafted 45th overall by Tampa Bay.
[Bucs Defensive Coordinator] Todd Bowles used Winfield extensively as a blitzer in Week 3, sending the rookie on 10 occasions over the course of the contest. The first-year safety out of Minnesota repaid his coach with a sack, a hurry and one batted pass at the line of scrimmage. Through three weeks, Winfield now ranks first among safeties in pass-rush grade (91.2) and pressure rate (36 percent).
Winfield has played well beyond his years in every facet of the game. His grade against the run, in the pass rush, in coverage and as a tackler are all among the 20 best among NFL safeties. His 76.8 overall grade currently ranks fifth among 79 qualifying players at the position.
Jefferson nominated for Pepsi Rookie of the Week
In addition to earning Rookie of the Week honors from PFF, Jefferson is up against four other first-year players for the Pepsi Zero Sugar Rookie of the Week.
Jefferson joins Bengals QB Joe Burrow (31 of 44 passing for 312 yards, 2 TDs, 105.5 rating), Jaguars RB James Robinson (129 scrimmage yards and 2 rushing TDs), 49ers WR Brandon Aiyuk (101 scrimmage yards and 1 rushing TD) and Chargers QB Justin Herbert (35 of 49 passing for 330 yards, TD, INT).
Fans can vote for Jefferson here.
ESPN focuses on Minnesota's offense for Vikings-Titans takeaways
If the first three weeks are a preview of games to come, the Vikings offense will be relied on to put up some big point totals.
ESPN asked each of its team reporters to share a takeaway from the weekend's slate of games. For the Vikings loss to the Titans on Sunday, ESPN's Courtney Cronin focused on Minnesota's offense and what will be expected of it moving forward. Cronin wrote:
_What is it going to take for the Vikings to avoid another monumental collapse when they hit the road for Houston and Seattle in Weeks 4 and 5? Minnesota is the first team in NFL history to have one player record 175 rushing yards and another player record 175 receiving yards in the same game, according to Elias Sports Bureau research, and the Vikings still lost. When the offense had a chance to give the Vikings their first victory, it faltered in chaotic fashion on a disastrous final drive. The Vikings aren't getting any help from the defense, either. It's going to be up to the offense, which put up 464 yards and 30 points in a loss, to get into shootouts to win games. _