It sometimes feels like Justin Jefferson has been in the NFL for more than two seasons.
He's already taken the league by storm as he readies for Year 3, and he's only 22 years old (He'll turn 23 on June 16). Jefferson's prolific start made him an easy selection for CBS Sports' Cody Benjamin, who assembled a "Top 25 NFL players 25 and under" list.
Benjamin excluded this year's rookie class from the running. He slated Jefferson at No. 5 on the list and wrote the following:
He laid the groundwork for [Ja'Marr] Chase to exit LSU and enter the NFL as an instant home run threat. The lanky No. 1 is on a Randy Moss pace in Minnesota, serving as a constant outlet for Kirk Cousins and single-handedly spreading out the Vikings' offense. His team couldn't have found a better Stefon Diggs successor, adding both swagger and electricity in Jefferson.
Jefferson was the highest-rated receiver on Benjamin's list. The only players ranked ahead of him were (from 1-4, respectively) Chargers QB Justin Herbert, Ravens QB Lamar Jackson, Bengals QB Joe Burrow and 49ers DE Nick Bosa.
Chase landed at No. 6 on the list, followed by Bucs T Tristan Wirfs and Cardinals QB Kyler Murray, whom the Vikings are slated to host this season.
Murray's a bit of a difficult code to crack. On one hand, he's ended all three NFL seasons either hurt or in a slump, has overseen a combined Cardinals record of 22-23-1 and is all but demanding a new deal before a single promising playoff game in Arizona. On the other, he's easily a top-10 dual threat when at the height of his game, with a fiery arm and unending elusiveness. Odds are, whether in Arizona or elsewhere, his talent will keep him in the big-game conversation for longer than most QBs.
Minnesota also will face Packers CB Jaire Alexander – twice – and Colts RB Jonathan Taylor, whom Benjamin ranked Nos. 9 and 10, respectively.
Benjamin said that even after missing most of last season with an injury, Alexander "remains one of the top young cover men in the game." And for Taylor? Indianapolis' offense "quite literally runs through him," Benjamin noted.
Not just because they force-feed him, but because he does a ton with the ball in his hands. In two years, he's racked up 3,639 yards from scrimmage, averaging 5.3 yards per carry, while scoring 32 touchdowns.
Click here to see Benjamin's complete rankings.
Hasan looks at Vikings undrafted free agent edge rushers with 'best shot' at roster
Which undrafted free agents are most likely to make Minnesota's 53-man roster?
Arif Hasan of The Athletic took a look a pair of edge rushers who joined the Vikings this year as undrafted free agents with the “best shot” at landing on the roster. Hasan spotlighted Luiji Vilain out of Wake Forest and Zach McCloud out of Miami.
Hasan wrote the following of Vilain, who's Canadian:
Ranked 338thoverall, Vilain ranked above fellow edge defenders James Houston of Jackson State and Andre Anthony of LSU, both of whom were drafted. Vilain's composite athletic testing, which matters more for edge defenders than any other position, was better than every undrafted edge defender except Ravens signing Jeremiah Moon. His athleticism is on a similar plane to another Raven, David Ojabo, who was drafted in the second round, and better than four other drafted edge defenders, like Kingsley Enagbare of the Packers and DeAngelo Malone of the Falcons.
If the Vikings only run four deep at the position, it will be tough for Vilain to unseat someone like D.J. Wonnum or Patrick Jones given their experience, but if he outshines Janarius Robinson … he could make the roster as a fifth edge rusher. The fact that the Vikings didn't draft an edge rusher in April helps Vilain's case.
Hasan then pivoted to McCloud, a "Super Senior" who played at linebacker and defensive end for the Hurricanes:
It might seem odd to include two different edge rushers, but McCloud earned the second-highest total guaranteed contract of any undrafted free agent — just behind quarterback and Eagles signee Carson Strong. That might just mean McCloud has a good agent, but it also means that NFL teams valued his talent enough to start a bidding war.
McCloud is an older rookie who enters the NFL at age 24 after six years at Miami. He doesn't have quite the athleticism of Vilain, but he has savvy against the run game and is well regarded for his hustle. He's facing the same hurdles as Vilain, of course, with a difficult depth chart to ascend, but he'll have an opportunity to make the team.