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5 Things to Know About Vikings 1st-Round Pick Justin Jefferson

EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings opted to use their first of two selections on the opening night of the 2020 NFL Draft to select receiver Justin Jefferson out of LSU.

The junior, who measured 6-foot-1 and 202 pounds, was taken with the 22nd overall pick that was acquired from Buffalo in a trade that sent receiver Stefon Diggs to the Bills.

Jefferson is the eighth receiver ever selected in a first round by the Vikings and first LSU player ever drafted in a first round by the Vikings.

View photos of LSU WR Justin Jefferson who was selected by the Vikings in the first round of the NFL Draft.

Here are five things to know about the newest Vikings receiver:

1. Prolific numbers in 2019

Jefferson tied for the national lead in 2019 with 111 receptions (a single-season school record), ranked third in FBS with 1,540 yards and finished second with 18 touchdowns catches, which trailed only his teammate, Ja'Marr Chase's 20.

The prolific season helped LSU quarterback Joe Burrow win the Heisman Trophy on the way to becoming the No. 1 overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft. In between, Jefferson and Burrow helped LSU win the national championship.

Jefferson played in all 15 games for LSU last season, but his biggest effort was in the CFP National Semifinal when he racked up 14 catches for 227 yards and four touchdowns against the Oklahoma Sooners.

He also had something special for the title game:

2. Tigers in his blood

Playing for the Tigers runs through Jefferson's bloodline. His two brothers — Jordan and Rickey — also played at LSU.

Jordan was a three-year starter at quarterback, and Rickey played safety from 2013-16. Jordan spent time with the Buccaneers, and Rickey has spent time with the Raiders and Saints.

Justin is the seventh receiver from LSU to be drafted in a first round, joining 2014-first-round pick Odell Beckham, Jr., as well as Dwayne Bowe (2007), Craig Davis (2007), Michael Clayton (2004), Eddie Kennison (1996) and Wendell Davis (1988).

3. Underdog out of high school

Jefferson was just a three-star prospect by 247Sports and Scout coming out of Destrehan High School, which is just west (upstream on the Mississippi River) of New Orleans. He was ranked the No. 76 player in Louisiana in the 2017 recruiting class by 247Sports and Rivals.

After recording 44 receptions for 956 yards and nine touchdowns as a senior, he flew under the radar in his first year in Baton Rouge, finishing 2017 without a catch and only logging one rush for 4 yards.

That changed in 2018 when he led LSU in receptions (54), yards (875) and touchdowns (six).

4. Slot work

The Athletic's Dane Brugler noted that Jefferson was the "Y" receiver in Steve Ensminger's offense, lining up in the slot in 2019. Brugler described Jefferson as a "throwback pass catcher."

"Jefferson attacks defenders at the stem and always works to get open, playing with the gritty mindset to finish in a crowd," Brugler wrote in his draft guide.

Jefferson said during a conference call that 2019 was his first time he had played in the slot, and Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman said the Vikings also went back to the 2018 tape to see Jefferson playing outside.

5. PP&K prodigy

When he was 9 years old, Jefferson qualified for the Punt, Pass and Kick national championship and placed third.