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Justin Jefferson Breaks Randy Moss' Vikings Rookie Receptions Record


MINNEAPOLIS – Don't look now, but Randy Moss just got … Mossed.

In just his 14th NFL game, Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson has surpassed Moss' team record for catches by a rookie. Jefferson recorded his 70th reception of the season in the third quarter of Sunday's Vikings-Bears game.

The record reception was good for 26 yards and opened Minnesota's second possession of the second half, which ended with a 22-yard field goal by Dan Bailey that cut Chicago's margin to 27-20 with 2:38 left in the third quarter.

He reached the benchmark at a fan-less U.S. Bank Stadium but received video board recognition as well as plenty of love from his teammates.

Jefferson tied Moss with a 16-yard catch earlier in the third quarter that helped set up a short touchdown run by Dalvin Cook that cut the Bears lead to 20-17 with 10:54 left in the period.

Jefferson was asked earlier this week about breaking the Hall of Famer's Vikings record. 

"I didn't even know I was that close to him," Jefferson admitted. "But that's pretty exciting to [potentially] beat him in receptions and be No. 1 on the board."

He added with a smile: "I'm excited for that – and hopefully I can beat his yards record also."

Moss racked up 69 catches during Minnesota's historic 1998 season, during which he helped lead the Vikings to a 15-1 record and an appearance in the NFC Championship Game. Moss set the record for receiving yards by a rookie with 1,313. Jefferson entered Sunday's game with 1,078 yards, needing 236 to break Moss' yardage record for a rookie.

Jefferson has been even better than advertised for Minnesota since being drafted 22nd overall in April.

The former LSU standout has navigated an offseason and season drastically altered by the COVID-19 pandemic and certainly looks the part of an NFL playmaker. Jefferson's notable debut campaign has included impressive catches all over the field and seven touchdowns, which fall short of Moss' incredible 17 in 1998.

It's likely that Moss won't be too upset about his record being broken after 22 years. After all, the "SuperFreak" is also a fan of Jefferson.

Moss, who was named the 1998 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, recently joined Jefferson on a Zoom call with Minnesota's other Offensive Rookie of the Year recipients: Paul Flatley (1963), Sammy White (1976) and Percy Harvin (2009).

Will Jefferson be the next Viking to hold the honor?

Landing in the record books with Moss certainly seems like one more argument for the award.