Bring on the Randy Moss comparisons.
While some athletes would rather not be likened to past players, Vikings rookie receiver Justin Jefferson considers it an honor that he'd draw similarities to the Hall of Famer.
Jefferson, who this season broke Moss' franchise records for receptions and yards by a rookie, virtually joined The Pat McAfee Show Thursday morning to talk shop with the former NFL punter.
"I would assume, even though you and Randy don't have the same style of play, whenever you're in the same conversation as guys like that, especially in the Vikings organization, you have to feel pretty good about that, right?" McAfee asked.
"Oh, a hundred percent. He's a Hall of Famer. He's classified as one of the best receivers to ever play the game," Jefferson responded. "So to be in the same sentence as him, being compared to him, of course I don't mind that at all. My goal is to be a Hall of Famer one day and be one of the best receivers of all time. Definitely not scared of that comparison."
Jefferson hopes to follow in Moss' footsteps, which would include being named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. He also has been nominated for the Pepsi Zero Sugar Rookie of the Year, which fans can vote for here.
Although Jefferson acknowledged that his first NFL campaign felt "longer than I thought," he referenced veterans like Adam Thielen and other experienced players who helped coach the youngster on how best to take care of his body.
He now is looking forward to taking a break before getting back to work this offseason.
Jefferson soaked up advice throughout the 2020 campaign from Thielen and his other Vikings teammates and coaches, and he's determined to not leave any stone unturned. During his first true offseason as a pro, he said he plans to work out with other receivers around the NFL.
"The best train with the best. So, of course, I want to train with the top guys of the league," Jefferson said. "I talked to Davante Adams, I talked to Stefon Diggs, Odell [Beckham, Jr.], so talking to those different guys, I definitely want to train with them to see all the information they can give to me to help my game out.
"If it's releases, if it's running different routes, if it's how to get open during this coverage or how the cornerback is playing you," Jefferson continued, "there's definitely different ways to help my game and to improve, and guys like Stefon Diggs and Davante Adams, those different guys definitely have some tricks up their sleeves."
Despite disappointment that Minnesota isn't part of the postseason competition, Jefferson said he "100 percent" plans to watch this weekend's divisional round matchups – which will feature Adams with the Packers and Diggs with the Bills on Saturday.
"I'm definitely looking forward to that Green Bay and Rams game with Davante Adams and Jalen Ramsey. Definitely going to be looking at that to see how that matchup goes," he said.
And he's already looking ahead to the Vikings 2021 opponents and which cornerbacks he'll potentially be facing – including Ramsey, Jaire Alexander (Packers) and Marlon Humphrey (Ravens).
Jefferson pointed out that although his alma mater, LSU, was a power program in the SEC, not every opponent the Tigers faced featured high-level corners.
"Having to play a top corner, a top team, every single week in the NFL, it definitely gets tough. It [puts] a toll on your body, you get tired," Jefferson said. "They're smarter. They're definitely patient, they're looking at their techniques, they're studying a whole bunch of film on you – so those moves that you did last week aren't going to work [when] going up against the [next week's] corner. You have to change some stuff up and change the way you move."
McAfee spoke volumes of Jefferson's elusiveness on the field, though.
"Your routes were so sick. Your routes were nasty," McAfee said. "How did that become your thing? Because it's your thing. You shake the [stuff] out of people at the top of your routes."
Because Jefferson didn't start playing wide receiver until high school, he felt a little behind as far as experience at the position. He credited Jerry Sullivan, who served as LSU's pass game coordinator in 2018 before joining the Arizona Cardinals in 2019 as an offensive assistant, with helping him improve drastically.
"He's my favorite coach," Jefferson said. "He helped me tremendously with different ways to get open, with releases, ways to break down and get quicker out of my breaks. He definitely helped me become a better route runner and a better receiver."
McAfee couldn't resist throwing in a question about which Vikings teammate – Kirk Cousins or Thielen – best executed "The Griddy," Jefferson's signature touchdown dance.
"Oooh … I'm gonna have to go with Kirk. I'm gonna have to," Jefferson quipped. "But Kirk, that was the first time I'd ever seen Kirk do it the entire season, so at least I got to [see] how he does it so I can work with him a little bit."
As Jefferson wrapped his interview with McAfee, producer Ty Schmit brought attention to the following tweet by NFL Legend Chad Johnson, formerly known as Ochocinco.
"I got somethin' for him," Jefferson said with a grin. "I've got somethin'."