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Lunchbreak: Jefferson, Cousins Make PFF Top 101 Players List

The duo of Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson were one of the top quarterback-wide receiver tandems across the league in 2021.

And both players have been recognized by analytics website Pro Football Focus for their strong seasons, as Jefferson and Cousins were both recently named to PFF’s Top 101 Players from this past season.

Sam Monson of PFF put together the list, which is compiled annually based on a player's PFF grade from the previous season.

Jefferson, who had a 90.4 overall PFF grade, landed at No. 21 overall and was the fourth wide receiver listed.

Monson wrote:

Jefferson's rookie season was so incredible that some kind of regression seemed inevitable in Year 2. Instead, the Vikings pass-catcher backed it up with another outstanding year. He averaged 2.59 yards per route run and put up over 1,600 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns, ranking fourth in the NFL in targets among wide receivers. Jefferson is already a complete receiver and one of the most devastating players in the league at the position.

Jefferson was a Second-Team All-Pro selection by The Associated Press for the second straight season.

He recorded 108 receptions for 1,616 yards and 10 scores, besting his rookie totals in all three categories.

Cousins, meanwhile, came in at No. 41 on PFF's list. His overall 2021 grade was 89.6, the sixth-best among quarterbacks.

Monson wrote:

So much focus is on where Cousins falls short that we often fail to recognize just how good he has been in Minnesota and his impressive continual improvement. He finished the regular season with the No. 5-ranked quarterback grade and dropped to No. 6 by the end of the playoffs. Cousins was one of the most accurate passers in the game, with a top-10 big-time throw rate and turnover-worthy play rate. He is not one of the very best passers in the game, but he might be the best of the next tier.

Cousins completed 372 of 561 passes (66.3 percent) for 4,221 yards with 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions with a passer rating of 103.1. He started 16 games and played 1,087 offensive snaps (95.3 percent).

Cousins is scheduled to enter the final year of his current contract in 2022.

The Packers led the NFC North with seven total players on PFF's list, while the Vikings had two players and the Lions had one player (rookie tackle Penei Sewell) make the cut. The Bears did not have any players on PFF's list.

O'Connell listed among coaches who could succeed quickly

The NFL head coaching carousel has stopped, as all nine vacancies have now officially been filled.

The Vikings were the ninth and final team to announce their new head coach, as Kevin O'Connell stepped into that role last week.

Some believe O'Connell is primed for early success in Purple.

Mike Sando of The Athletic was part of a roundtable discussion about a few league-wide issues, including which new head coach is in the best position to succeed early.

While most of the panel picked Josh McDaniels because he's taking over a Raiders team that just went to the playoffs, Sando threw the Vikings and O'Connell in the mix, too.

View photos of new Vikings Head Coach Kevin O'Connell during his first day at the TCO Performance Center on Feb. 17.

He wrote:

Minnesota is worth a mention as well. Kirk Cousins is an established player who should function effectively in the offense Kevin O'Connell installs there. The team has talent. And, unlike McDaniels, O'Connell is landing in a mediocre division.

O'Connell was officially introduced Thursday as the new head coach.

The latest Monday Morning Mailbag dove into O'Connell's first few days in Purple, and what he'll bring in as a first-time head coach.