EAGAN, Minn. – Justin Jefferson did everything he could to spark a Vikings comeback victory Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Pioneer Press writer Dane Mizutani highlighted Jefferson's first 100-plus yard game since Week 4.
You almost started to forget how good star receiver Justin Jefferson is after he was out injured for so long. …
In total, Jefferson finished with 6 catches for 141 yards and a touchdown, dazzling everybody in attendance with the way he consistently made an impact. He absorbed massive hits in the open field while still holding onto the ball. He climbed the ladder for an incredible catch when his teammates needed it most. He recovered a fumble late in the game to make a comeback still feel possible.
After the game, quarterback Nick Mullens called Jefferson "a beast." Tackle Christian Darrisaw said Jefferson is "the best in the world." Those world-class skills were on full display in Jefferson's first game at U.S. Bank Stadium since October.
That makes the final play for the offense even harder to stomach in hindsight. In the final minutes, the Vikings trusted Jefferson to win his matchup, and he did with relative ease. He was running in open space with a chance to take the lead, but the ball never got to him. Instead, Mullens decided not to lead Jefferson, which turned into an interception that effectively ended the game.
It certainly wasn't for a lack of effort on Jefferson's part.
"He battled," head coach Kevin O'Connell said. "This guy is going to leave it all out on the field. That's what I love about him. He is so tremendously talented, such a competitor, and we're going to continue to try it feature our best player, regardless of what the defense tries to take away."
**Click here** to read the rest of Mizutani's story
Star Tribune's Five Extra Points
Jefferson's heroics and Nick Mullens' performance were the subject of Star Tribune writer Mark Craig's **five extra points** following the Vikings 30-24 loss to the Lions Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium.
The Vikings had 10 possessions. Jefferson was targeted in only four of them. He had one catch for 8 yards in the first four, three catches for 77 yards in the 2-minute touchdown drive before the half and was invisible until 10 minutes remained. In the final 10 minutes, Jefferson was targeted six times. He and the Lions secondary caught two apiece. Jefferson made Mullens look good, while the Lions made Mullens' arm strength look unfit for the NFL a couple more times. "Jefferson might have looked open, but I just jumped in front of him," said safety Ifeatu Melifonwu of his game-clinching interception of a deep ball with 58 seconds left.
Craigs' next point was on Mullens' performance inside the red zone.
Nick Mullens threw his four interceptions outside the red zone, but his performance inside the 20 also fell short. He completed two of six passes for 20 yards and a touchdown to K.J. Osborn. Mullens had first-and-goal at the 9 with 5:47 left. He threw high to Jefferson. He threw another ball away and then bailed on third-and-9, running for 1 yard. The Vikings started 2-for-2 in the red zone, but Lions rookie nickelback Brian Branch was called for holding on a third-down incompletion and dropped a surefire interception on back-to-back plays in the first quarter. The Vikings are 3-for-7 in the red zone with Mullens.
To read points on Lions Head Coach Dan Campbell, quarterback Jared Goff and the Vikings defense, **click here**.