The sophomore jinx is real.
Snoop’s The Doggfather was so bad, it almost convinced us all that Doggystyle was a fluke; Ma$e’s Double Up was clearly a glitch in the hip-hop Matrix; and Mos Def’s The New Danger is such a sensitive topic that it still makes me break out in hives to this day.
But for every Immobilarity, there’s an ATLiens or equally transcendent To Pimp a Butterfly. And when it comes to encore performances in the NFL, Minnesota Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson is truly in a class of his own.
After leaving jaws scattered on the floor during his rookie campaign, racking up 1400 receiving yards and seven touchdowns, the two-time Pro Bowler somehow did even more damage as a sophomore, running up 1451 receiving yards (and counting) to go along with an equally impressive nine touchdowns. And considering the Vikings (7-8) still have two games left to play, it’s safe to assume the 22-year-old will continue to obliterate man, woman, and child as he makes his eventual case to stand next to the greatest receivers of all time.
Clearly, he’s off to a hell of a start. And after increasing his two-year total to 2,851 receiving yards after finishing with eight catches for 116 yards on Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams, ESPN reports that Jefferson broke the record for having the most receiving yards ever by a player in his first two seasons—surpassing one Odell Beckham Jr., who he just so happened to be playing against on Sunday.
That’s kind of a big goddamn deal.
“Blessed, honor to God, just being in this situation, breaking his record with him [Beckham] in the building,” Jefferson said. “It was no other perfect situation for me. But a dub would definitely be better with that record, but move on.”
The former LSU standout also admitted that breaking the record against All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey made the moment even more special.
“I’m excited. I feel like I live for these moments, ever since I was a kid,” Jefferson said prior to Sunday’s matchup. “Just going up against that top guy, I’m a natural competitor. I’ve been a competitor since I was playing in the backyard with my family. I’m ready for the game, I’ve been having it circled for a long time. To me, it’s a statement game for me considering myself one of the top receivers in the league and solidifying myself. Definitely ready for it.”
SPOILER ALERT: It didn’t end well for Ramsey.
According to NFL Next Gen Stats, Ramsey lined up across from Jefferson pre-snap 22 times on Sunday. Jefferson finished with 40 yards on four catches with Ramsey as the nearest defender, compared with 76 yards when anyone else was the nearest defender.
Expect Jefferson to continue his reign of terror for the foreseeable future. We are all witnesses.