|No. 18 – Minnesota Vikings|
|Born:||June 16, 1999|
St. Rose, Louisiana
|Height:||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)|
|Weight:||195 lb (88 kg)|
|High school:||Destrehan (Destrehan, Louisiana)|
|NFL Draft:||2020 / Round: 1 / Pick: 22|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
|Player stats at NFL.com · PFR|
Justin Joshua Jefferson (born June 16, 1999) is an American football wide receiver for the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at LSU and was drafted by the Vikings in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. He then set an NFL rookie record for receiving yards with 1,400 (a record that was broken in 2021 by his former LSU teammate Ja'Marr Chase) and was named to the Pro Bowl. Jefferson has been named to two Pro Bowls in his first two pro seasons.
Jefferson attended Destrehan High School in Destrehan, Louisiana. He committed to Louisiana State University (LSU) to play college football.
After appearing in two games and not recording a catch his first year at LSU in 2017, Jefferson was their leading receiver in 2018 with 54 catches for 875 yards and six touchdowns.
As a junior in 2019, Jefferson led the country with 111 receptions. His 18 receiving touchdowns ranked second in the country—behind only teammate Ja'Marr Chase—and his 1,540 receiving yards were third most. He had a historic performance in the Peach Bowl, catching 14 passes for 227 yards and four touchdowns against the Oklahoma Sooners. All four touchdowns came in the first half, and set a College Football Playoff game record and tied the record for any bowl game. In the National Championship against Clemson, he had nine receptions for 106 yards in the 42–25 victory. On January 15, 2020, Jefferson announced that he would forgo his senior season and enter the NFL Draft.
|Height||Weight||Arm length||Hand span||40-yard dash||Vertical jump||Broad jump||Wonderlic|
|6 ft 1+1⁄4 in
|4.43 s||37.5 in
|10 ft 6 in
|All values from NFL Combine|
Jefferson was selected by the Minnesota Vikings in the first round with the 22nd overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. The Vikings previously obtained the 22nd selection as part of a blockbuster trade that sent wide receiver Stefon Diggs to the Buffalo Bills. Because Britton Colquitt, the punter, already was wearing Jefferson's college number, 2, and refused to get a new one, he couldn’t continue to wear it, and thus chose to wear 18. Jefferson signed a four-year, $13.12 million contract with the team, with a $7.1 million signing bonus. Jefferson was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list by the team on July 27, 2020, before being cleared and activated a week later.
See also: 2020 Minnesota Vikings season
Jefferson made his debut in Week 1 against the Green Bay Packers, recording two receptions for 26 yards. He made his first start of the season in a Week 3 game against the Tennessee Titans, where he had his first big breakthrough by finishing with 175 receiving yards and a touchdown on seven receptions, but the Vikings lost 30–31. He followed up that performance the next week with four receptions for 103 yards in a 31–23 win over the Houston Texans. In doing so, he became just the fifth rookie wide receiver in Vikings history to have back to back games with at least 100 yards receiving. During Week 6 against the Atlanta Falcons, Jefferson finished with nine receptions for 166 receiving yards and two touchdowns .
In Week 13 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Jefferson recorded nine catches for 121 yards and a touchdown during a 27–24 overtime win, in this game he broke the 1,000 receiving yard mark. In Week 15 against the Chicago Bears, Jefferson broke Randy Moss's Vikings rookie receiving record by catching eight passes, putting him at 74 receptions, surpassing the 69 catches Moss had in 1998. By the season's end, Jefferson had set the NFL record for most receiving yards (1,400) by a rookie in NFL history after surpassing Anquan Boldin's 1,377 yards in 2003 (although his record would be broken by his former LSU teammate Ja'Marr Chase the following season). He was one of only two rookies named to the 2021 Pro Bowl, alongside defensive end Chase Young of the Washington Football Team. He was also named Rookie of the Year by the Sporting News.
See also: 2021 Minnesota Vikings season
Jefferson's season started strong, putting up over 100 receiving yards against Seattle, Detroit, and the Chargers over the first eight games of the season. In Week 11, Jefferson had eight catches for 169 yards and two touchdowns in a 34-31 win over the Green Bay Packers, earning NFC Offensive Player of the Week. In Week 13, Jefferson caught 11 passes for 182 yards and a touchdown in a 29-27 loss to the Detroit Lions. Jefferson's 464 yards and three touchdowns through four games in the month of November earned him NFC Offensive Player of the Month, the first of his career. During Week 16, Jefferson passed Odell Beckham Jr. for most receiving yards by a player in his first two NFL seasons. Jefferson finished the season with 1,616 receiving yards, good for second-most in the NFL in 2021, and just 16 yards short of Randy Moss's single-season franchise record. Jefferson was named to the 2022 Pro Bowl, joining Randy Moss and Sammy White as the only three Vikings wide receivers to make Pro Bowls in each of their first two professional seasons. For the second consecutive year, Jefferson was named a second-team member of the AP All-Pro team, missing a spot on the first-team by a single vote.
His brothers, Jordan and Rickey, also played college football at LSU. Their father, John, played Division II college basketball. On April 27, 2021, Jefferson was the first NFL player to be added to Fortnite with his dance, Get Griddy.