Justin Jefferson's first two NFL seasons put the Vikings wide receiver in the fast lane to superstardom.
After setting the NFL record for most receiving yards in a player's first two seasons with 3,016, Jefferson had a stellar start to his 2022 campaign.
In Week 1 against Green Bay, Jefferson posted a franchise-record 158 first-half yards before ending with a personal-best 184 on nine catches and two touchdowns.
Jefferson said "God blessed me being on this squad" when reflecting on his first two seasons. He's got big expectations going into his third year.
"Just with K.O. [Head Coach Kevin O'Connell] coming to the team, we're all excited to have this new style of offense," Jefferson said.
We sat down recently for a Water Break presented by Crown Royal.
Q: How competitive were you and your brothers growing up?
A: "Very competitive. I definitely remember all of the different times of playing basketball in the yard, playing football against each other, just competing with each other and seeing who's better, who's not better. They're definitely the reason why I'm this type of person now; I'm way tougher and way smarter than I was at a young age."
Q: How special was it to follow in your brothers' footsteps in attending LSU?
A: "Very special. Them just going through it before I did kind of paved the way; it was easier for me to transition from college to the league. Them telling me different ways to better myself on and off the field; just being older brothers, supporting me and doing what brothers do. Always critiquing me and just trying to give me tips all of the time, so I'm definitely grateful for them."
Q: You were a three-star recruit coming out of high school. How did that motivate you to have the college career that you did?
A: "I always had a chip on my shoulder. I always felt like I was doubted a lot. Even now, I feel like I'm still doubted a little bit. Just trying to prove myself, just trying to prove that I'm a great player, [that] I'm a top player in the league. I'm always going to have that chip on my shoulder and keep trying to prove people wrong."
Q: What sparked your interest in studying sport administration at LSU?
A: "I wanted to learn more about sports. I definitely wanted to give myself a backup plan if football didn't work for me, of course. So getting into sports and just being able to be in that type of field; learning more about sports and more about different things throughout sports, so I felt like it was a good major for me."
Q: Speaking of college, you got your first dog when you were at LSU. You've got two now. What's life like as a "dad" of two dogs?
A: "It's like having kids, man. They're always playing with each other, they're always messing something up, but it's good to have dogs around to keep you company. I definitely was bored one day and was like, 'I want another dog' and I just got another dog. It's great to have them; they keep me busy all of the time and it definitely feels like I'm a parent."
Q: What's the relationship been like with your new coaches like K.O. and Offensive Coordinator Wes Phillips coming in for their first years in the organization, as well as wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell in his second year?
A: "They've been great. Just them connecting with all of the players and them just being free. All of us feel comfortable being in here; [O'Connell is] a great coach. Just the love that he puts into it, the amount of time he puts into it; he's just good with connecting with us. He's good with being a player's coach; we love him so much for that, and hopefully he's the right change for us this year."
Q: You're 2-for-4 with 35 yards passing in your career. What's your pitch for being able to throw the ball again this year?
A: "I keep telling K.O. that I can throw the rock a little bit. I got a little arm on me, so whenever those receiver passes come, I'm pretty sure I'll be the one throwing them. My first completion was to K.J. [Osborn] for his first catch of his career, so it was kind of cool to have that going on. Hopefully we'll have more passes coming soon."
Q: You showed off that arm at an early age, placing third in a Punt, Pass & Kick competition at just 9 years old. What was that experience like?
A: "That was a great experience for me. That was my first time being on a plane during that time and going to one of my first NFL games. That whole time of me playing football and doing the Punt, Pass & Kick competition, it was crazy how talented I was at a young age."
Q: How special was it to host your first youth football camp this summer and present that opportunity for kids?
A: "It was crazy to see how many kids came out there to really support what I have going on. To really have a camp with me, to play football with me and to really just learn stuff from me, it was crazy and amazing. The energy was amazing, and all of the kids had so much fun, I had fun. Just Griddy-ing with them and seeing all of the smiles on their faces, it's killer."
Q: How cool was it to see "The Griddy" get into video games like "Fortnite" and this year's "Madden"?
A: "It's unbelievable. It's honestly a dream of mine just to be a trending topic in the world and to have a dance that I brought to the league go viral or start trending. I've got the whole world doing it, seeing little kids do it all around the neighborhood; even in the airports, I see kids doing it. It's been a long journey how far The Griddy has come in a short amount of time, and I definitely want to keep doing it."
Vikings WR Justin Jefferson distributed free backpacks outside the Phyllis Wheatley Community Center ahead of the new school year for students.
Q: Community work you've done so far has included donating masks during the pandemic and backpacks to students last year. How important is it to give back to communities, especially here in Minnesota?
A: "It means a lot to me. I always want to show my home people that I'm there for them. If it's giving turkeys away, toys away for Christmas, backpacks, I'm always looking for things to do for the community so I can give back to them."
Q: You posted a picture on Instagram in July from Miami that you caught your first fish in 10 minutes. Have you been able to do any fishing here in Minnesota yet?
A: "I haven't yet. But [Adam Thielen's] got the boat, so I might have to hit up Adam a little bit. Tell him to give me a little fishing rod so we can go and cruise on the water for a couple of hours and hopefully I catch some fish then."