A week away from the gridiron didn't sway Justin Jefferson's status as one of the top rookies across the league.
Analytics website Pro Football Focus has graded every NFL rookie so far this season, and the Vikings wide receiver ranks atop the class with an overall grade of 90.8 so far in 2020.
PFF writer Anthony Treash wrote about Jefferson’s impact through six games.
Jefferson is just six games deep into his rookie campaign and has already recorded not one, not two, but three of the 10 best single-game receiving grades ever recorded by a rookie wide receiver in the PFF era (since 2006). Those have come in three of the four last games, and he'll look to keep this hot streak alive against the Green Bay Packers in Week 8, fresh off his Week 7 bye.
Jefferson, the 22nd overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, ranks 10th in the league with 537 receiving yards. He has 28 receptions (19.2 yards per catch) with a trio of touchdowns.
The former LSU standout is also the only rookie with a 90-plus grade by PFF's metrics.
Treash also noted that Jefferson's progression could help out Minnesota's entire passing game Sunday against the Packers.
The Packers kept Jefferson quiet in his Week 1 debut; he earned just a 51.5 receiving grade and tallied 26 receiving yards on two catches. Adam Thielen, however, found immense success and earned a 90.8 receiving grade — that's the only time this year Green Bay has allowed a receiver to top a single-game grade north of 80.0. With Jefferson now in his groove and [cornerback] Jaire Alexander likely to follow Thielen, it could be another big day for the rookie.
New England guard Michael Onwenu (89.0 grade), Washington edge rusher Chase Young (82.0), Washington running back Antonio Gibson (80.5) and Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (75.8) round out PFF's top five highest-graded rookies so far in 2020.
View photos of the Vikings 53-man roster as of January 4, 2021.
Cronin analyzes Vikings potential approach to trade deadline
The NFL's trade deadline is now less than a week away, as all deals between teams must be submitted to the league by 3 p.m. (CT) on Tuesday.
The Vikings have been quiet around this time in past years, but with Minnesota off to a 1-5 start, will Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman be more active in the coming days?
Spielman himself answered that question Thursday his annual bye-week session with the Twin Cities media.
"There's always a lot of talk this time of year," Spielman said. "It's always going on and hasn't changed.
"But we're always going to look, and that's my job to look [in] the short-term and the long-term," Spielman added. "If there's a situation that pops up and there's a deal that can help us … either on a short-term [deal] where we do trade for a young player or another player … or we move a player … those are decisions you kind of make as opportunities present themselves."
Courtney Cronin, who covers the Vikings for ESPN, recently offered up her take on how Minnesota could approach the coming days.
Cronin opined that the Vikings recent trade of Yannick Ngakoue should be the first of a handful of moves to gather assets and draft capital for the future.
That doesn't mean there aren't moves worth making to help the team, even if it means more losses in 2020 and a longer rebuild than expected. The Vikings don't appear to be trying to execute a fire sale ahead of the Tuesday trade deadline, but they should be looking toward how they can get back into contention sooner rather than later.
The Vikings acquired undisclosed draft picks from the Ravens in the Ngakoue trade.
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