As we head into Week 15 of the NFL season, Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson sits atop the odds board at DraftKings Sportsbook for the Offensive Player of the Year award at +140. He’s followed by Jalen Hurts at +250 and Tyreek Hill at +300, though Hurts looks like a lock for MVP at this point in the season.
Alongside Kirk Cousins at the forefront of a 10-3 Vikings team, the 23-year-old is in his third season in the league. He locked up Pro Bowl honors in each of his first two seasons, and should easily surpass his 108 receptions for 1,616 yards from 2021. Head heads into Week 15 with 99 receptions for 1,500 yards and six receiving and one rushing touchdown (last season, he found the end zone 10 times). He currently leads the NFL in receiving yards.
But Jefferson’s OPOY chances go beyond statistics into something more intangible and yet visible to anyone who watches the wide receiver play on Sundays. He’s the epitome of “f- it, he’s down there somewhere.”
Take a look at the seemingly impossible one-handed grab against the Bills in November right out of the hands of Cam Lewis to convert a fourth down, or his overtime catch in double coverage to get the Vikings to first-and-goal in that same game. Or watch the Vikings-Patriots highlight video, which features any number of times Jefferson held onto the ball after massive hits, or made catches in double coverage with his back turned. He’s a playmaker, plain and simple.
He’s also set records this season — several of them, in fact. The former LSU national champion broke the NFL record for most receiving yards in a player’s first three seasons, besting Randy Moss’ numbers. He set a new single-game receiving yards record for the Vikings, and has the record for the player with the most 100-yard receiving games in their first three seasons. As we wrap up the final few weeks of the season, he’ll undoubtedly continue to grow the gap in those records.
Jefferson and the Vikings host the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday of Week 15. The Cowboys relied heavily on the run in last week’s win over the Colts, who are allowing 6.3 yards per pass attempt on average. Jefferson may lose out on some yardage to RB Dalvin Cook, but he’ll still be Cousins’ No. 1 target in the matchup.