Vikings’ Jefferson named Second-Team All-Pro

Minnesota Vikings rookie wide receiver Justin Jefferson was tabbed Second Team All-Pro by The Associated Press.  Jefferson garners his first All-Pro nod in his rookie campaign after a record-setting season in 2020.

The Associated Press NFL All-Pro teams are voted on by a national panel of 50 media members.

He is the only rookie to be named First or Second Team All-Pro this season and one of two rookies to receive votes (along with Tampa Bay’s Tristan Wirfs). Jefferson is the first Vikings rookie to garner All-Pro honors since Cordarrelle Patterson was selected First Team All-Pro as a kick returner in 2013. In December, the LSU product joined Randy Moss (1998) and Sammy White (1976) as the only Vikings rookie wide receivers to be named to the Pro Bowl in their first seasons.

Jefferson also joined Moss and Amari Cooper (2015) as the only wide receivers in NFL history to be named to a Pro Bowl at the age of 21. Percy Harvin (2009) and Mecole Hardman (2019) were both selected at the age of 21 as return specialists. The fifth receiver drafted in 2020, Jefferson broke the 18-year, Super Bowl-era rookie record for receiving yards (1,400) and set Vikings rookie records for receiving yards, receptions (88) and 100- yard games (7), passing the marks established by Hall of Famer Randy Moss during his 1998 Offensive Rookie of the Year campaign. Jefferson’s 1,400 yards ranked third among wide receivers, and his 23 receptions that gained 20 or more yards tied for the most in the league.

With his 133-yard performance at Detroit in Week 17, Jefferson became just the second player in the Super Bowl era to record seven 100-yard receiving games as a rookie, joining Odell Beckham Jr. (2014). His 87.5 receiving yards per game also rank second-most by a rookie in the history of the league behind only Beckham Jr. (108.8). Overall, the St. Rose, Louisiana, native joined Moss (in the 1999, 2000 and 2003 season) as the only players in team history to tally 1,400 receiving yards or more in a single season.

Vikings’ Cook, Jefferson named to Pro Bowl

Vikings running back Dalvin Cook and wide receiver Justin Jefferson have been selected by players, fans and coaches to the 2021 NFL Pro Bowl.

Cook, 25, is selected to his second consecutive Pro Bowl after leading the fan voting as the top NFC running back among vote-getters. Entering Week 16, Cook leads the NFL with 1,833 scrimmage yards and is tied for first with 15 rushing touchdowns. During the Week 15 matchup against Chicago, the fourth-year running back became the third Viking in team history to rush for over 1,400 yards in a season and passed Adrian Peterson’s 2009 season total (1,383) to move into fifth place in franchise history with 1,484 rushing yards. Peterson (2008, 2012, 2015) and Robert Smith (2000) are the only other Vikings to tally at least 1,400 rushing yards or more in a season.

The Florida State product was named NFC Offensive Player of the Month after leading the NFL with 641 rushing yards on 127 attempts and an average of 128.2 rushing yards per game through five contests in November. His 641 yards were the seventh-most rushing yards recorded in the month of November in NFL history, and the total set a team record for the month of November. His 128.2 rushing yards per game and 166.4 scrimmage yards per game also ranked third in Vikings history for the month.

Cook’s eight 100-yard rushing games in 2020 are tied with Robert Smith (2000) as the third-most 100-yard rushing games recorded in a season by a Viking. With 32 career touchdowns, Cook tied Smith for the fifth-most rushing touchdowns in team history. Cook’s 15 rushing touchdowns also tied the team record through 15 weeks. Peterson scored 15 rushing touchdowns through 15 weeks in 2009. The Miami, Florida, native received NFC Player of the Week honors in back-to-back weeks in Weeks 8-9, becoming the fourth Viking in team history to do so.

Jefferson garners his first Pro Bowl nod in his rookie campaign, joining only Viking rookie wide receivers Randy Moss (1998) and Sammy White (1976) to be named to the Pro Bowl in their first seasons. Jefferson also joins Moss and Amari Cooper (2015) as the only wide receivers in NFL history to be named to a Pro Bowl at the age of 21. Percy Harvin (2009) and Mecole Hardman (2019) were both selected at the age of 21 as return specialists.

The LSU product leads all rookie receivers with 1,182 yards and the total ranks eighth in the league entering Week 16. Jefferson also ranks sixth in the NFL among qualified receivers entering Week 16 with an average of 16.2 yards per reception (1,182/73). His 84.4 receiving yards per game rank ninth in the league while his 21 receptions of 20 or more yards are tied for the most in the NFL.

Coming off Week 15, Jefferson set the franchise rookie receptions record (73), breaking the previous mark of 69 set by Hall of Famer Randy Moss in 1998. With his 104-yard performance vs. Chicago, Jefferson became the fifth player in NFL history to record six 100-yard receiving games as a rookie. With 1,182 receiving yards this season, Jefferson passed Harlon Hill (1,124 in 1954), Bill Brooks (1,131 in 1986), Terry Glenn (1,132 in 1996) and Michael Thomas (1,137 in 2016) for the seventh-most receiving yards by a rookie in NFL history. The St. Rose, Louisiana, native became the fifth player in NFL history to record six 100-yard receiving games as a rookie, joining Billy Howton (six in 1952), Hill (seven in 1954), Odell Beckham Jr. (seven in 2014) and Bill Groman (nine in 1960).

Vikings’ Jefferson: ‘Not having fans in the stadium, we were lacking a lot of energy the first couple of weeks’

The Minnesota Vikings(4-5) may have finally hit their stride. Three straight division opponents and three consecutive wins for the Vikings, including last night’s 19-13 victory over the Bears at Soldier Field.

Before last night’s game, Vikings QB Kirk Cousins was 0-9 on Monday Night Football. However, the nine-year veteran was 25-36 for 292 yards and two touchdowns against Chicago, and for Cousins, it’s all about doing his part.

“You know, for me, it’s all about playing well and doing my part,” Cousins said after the game. “I’ve played long enough to know there is not a lot you can control as a quarterback. The ball is in your hands, but so many things are out of your control. So you just do the best you can, play the best you can, and that’s where my focus always is. When I leave a game and don’t feel like I played my best, that’s where I get frustrated. Then there are games where you may lose, but you felt like you gave a great effort and played at a high level. You always try to self-evaluate and be critical, but look at it with a trained eye.”

Vikings rookie wide receiver Justin Jefferson, who had eight catches for 135 yards on Monday night and tied Randy Moss for the most 100-yard receiving games by a Vikings rookie with four, believes Minnesota is playing with more energy.

“Not having fans in the stadium, we were lacking a lot of energy the first couple of weeks,” Jefferson said. “We found that energy: we found that swagger that we’ve been having. We came out ready to play football. The last three weeks that we’ve been doing, and we’re looking to continue to do it. “

For the Vikings, it’s about getting back into the playoff race, and after starting 1-5 not many thought the playoffs were a possibility. According to their head coach Mike Zimmer, the Vikings are fighting hard.

“You know, they just keep fighting,” Zimmer said. “That’s all we do. We come in there and practice every day. These guys, before the game, we weren’t tight. I could tell in the locker room they weren’t tight. They seemed to go out and practice really hard. They seemed to respond to the — when we are practicing and trying to — one of the things we’ve been emphasizing a lot for the last few weeks is not allowing completions at practice defensively, and I think maybe that’s starting to show up the competition part. It’s three games. We’re fighting our way back into this thing. Hopefully. Still got a lot of football left to play.”

Minnesota appears to be the team that many thought would be at the beginning of the season. Now, it’s time to continue to build on these three victories and make that push for the playoffs.