EAGAN, Minn. — Justin Jefferson's monster performance of nine receptions, 184 yards and two touchdowns in Week 1 against the Green Bay Packers earned himself "MVP" chants from Vikings fans at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday.
A few days later, he got a different type of chant, and a surprise with it.
The third-year Vikings wide receiver was named the "NVP," or Nickelodeon Valuable Player, on Wednesday for Week 1. The award is from Nickelodeon's NFL Slimetime show, which started last season and is hosted by former Minnesota receiver Nate Burleson and Nickelodeon star Dylan Gilmer, also known as "Young Dylan."
Jefferson beat out Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the Pittsburgh Steelers defense for the award.
Vikings Head Coach Kevin O'Connell decided to surprise Jefferson after Wednesday's practice with the award. As players gathered around, Jefferson and wide receivers Coach Keenan McCardell donned green slime hats. Then O'Connell took it a step further by letting his star receiver dump a bucket of green slime on his head.
O'Connell said after finding out Jefferson didn't earn NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors for Week 1 (New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley won it), he felt the slime was a fitting way to end a productive practice on Wednesday.
"I found out unfortunately J.J. didn't win the NFC Offensive Player of the Week through the league, so kind of a blessing there for Nickelodeon to select him. I thought he had an unbelievable game his first time out, working with J.J. I just wanted to have fun with it," O'Connell said. "I was kind of waiting to see how the day would go, and then once we were locked and loaded and felt really good about Day 1 of prep, we brought out the slime."
"I loved it," quarterback Kirk Cousins said. "We felt that [linebacker] Jordan [Hicks] and Justin had really strong games, [safety] Josh Metellus, as well. We felt like there was a chance we could've had a clean sweep of NFC Players of the Week. We went 0-3, but Nickelodeon gave us Player of the Week and Justin Player of the Week, so if Nickelodeon's going to recognize it then we're going to recognize Nickelodeon."
View photos of Vikings WR Justin Jefferson as he is awarded the Week 1 NVP (Nickelodeon Valuable Player) and slimes Head Coach Kevin O'Connell.
Jefferson is the first Vikings player to receive the "NVP" award and the third wide receiver to earn the honor. Cincinnati Bengals WR and Jefferson's former teammate at LSU Ja'Marr Chase won it twice, and San Francisco 49ers Deebo Samuel also claimed the award.
O'Connell said every time someone on the team earns the "NVP" award, he will be the one to get slimed. But O'Connell has some modifications for the next time he gets slimed, though.
"I couldn't get in to shower fast enough, because that stuff is, it's really something. But I was looking back around, and Coach [Offensive Coordinator Wes] Phillips – in classic Wes Phillips form – he waited until after to tell me that the green slime hats that J.J. and Keenan were wearing, those were really for the person that gets slimed to put on," O'Connell said. "But he waited 'til directly after for a nice little 'I told you so' moment after the fact. I may modify that whole 'it's always going to be me' to, it'll always be Coach Phillips."
Wide receiver and punt returner Jalen Reagor said it was special to see his teammates and coaches come together for an award like this.
"I feel like it was something new for me because, like that certain type of award. Didn't nobody expect it, especially me, so I feel like it was fun," Reagor said. "Fun for the team and just shows you the character of the team, the coaches and coach being willing to do that every time. That's a good thing."
"He [O'Connell] had more slime in that bucket too," running back Dalvin Cook added. "We're going to get him again, there's more weeks to come so we plan on having that each week."