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Lunchbreak: PFF Grades Justin Jefferson, T.J. Hockenson Top 5 at Respective Positions

EAGAN, Minn. – Two Vikings players are again being recognized as among the best at their respective positions.

Pro Football Focus released its highest-graded players from the 2023 season, and Justin Jefferson and T.J. Hockenson each made the list.

Jefferson finished fifth among wide receivers despite missing seven games due to a Week 5 hamstring injury. On yet another historic Jefferson season, PFF said the following:

Injuries limited Jefferson to just 10 games in 2023, which brought down his overall numbers, but he was still one of the best receivers in football. His 2.91 yards per route run average ranked fourth in the league in the regular season, and he forced 10 missed tackles on 68 receptions.

Jefferson became just the third player in league history to eclipse 1,000 receiving yards playing in 10 or fewer games. He is also just the fifth player in NFL history to start his career with four straight seasons with 1,000-plus receiving yards, joining Mike Evans, Michael Thomas, A.J. Green and Randy Moss.

According to PFF, only Amon-Ra St. Brown (Lions), Nico Collins (Texans), Brandon Aiyuk (49ers) and Tyreek Hill (Dolphins) graded better than Jefferson. The 49ers, Lions and Vikings are the only teams to have a receiver and tight end each grade top five at their respective positions.

The Vikings star tight end ranked fourth in PFF's grading among tight ends. On Hockenson, PFF wrote:

Hockenson was on pace for his second consecutive 1,000-yard season before tearing his ACL in Week 16. He led the Vikings in catches and finished second on the team in yards and first downs. Hockenson led all tight ends in third- and fourth-down yards (351) and moved the chains 21 times (third most).

Only Mark Andrews (Ravens), Travis Kelce (Chiefs) and George Kittle (49ers) graded better than Hockenson.

Click here to read PFF's complete receiver rankings and here for its complete tight end rankings.

'Star Tribune' on Vikings hiring Quarterback Coach Josh McCown

While NFL teams were busy at the NFL Scouting Combine, the Vikings on Tuesday announced the hiring of Quarterbacks Coach Josh McCown.

Star Tribune writer Andrew Krammer added insight to the hire in a recent round-up.

McCown, the former 19-year NFL quarterback hired by the Vikings on Tuesday, is following in the footsteps of Head Coach Kevin O'Connell, who is also a former NFL quarterback who began his coaching career as a Browns Quarterbacks Coach in 2015.

One of the Browns quarterbacks at that time was McCown, whom O'Connell expects to bring a "holistic" approach to a Vikings quarterbacks room that could feature Kirk Cousins, a rookie or both. O'Connell said McCown and Grant Udinski, the Assistant Quarterback Coach, will now lead the position. Former Quarterbacks Coach Chris O'Hara will shift to a Passing Game specialist role and report directly to O'Connell.

McCown is one of several new hires announced by the team this offseason. Krammer added that with McCown on staff, O'Connell can ideally "micromanage" less and delegate more as he enters Year 3 with the Vikings.

McCown, 44, is in his second season as an NFL quarterbacks coach. Last season, McCown held the same position for the Carolina Panthers and rookie quarterback Bryce Young. McCown may have another rookie to mold. The Vikings are in talks with Cousins about an extension, but they're also eyeing the top of this year's quarterback draft class.

*O'Connell's coaching staff now stands at 27. *