Justin Jefferson can be stopped, seemingly. We observed that out the difficult way in Inexperienced Bay on Sunday.
Of program, Jefferson has had undesirable video games right before, and he does not usually torch defenses, but this was a complete shutdown. But I really don’t blame Jefferson. The Packers came into this video game with a defense program which associated shutting down Jefferson, no matter what it took.No matter whether that was Jaire Alexander and a basic safety on him, or Alexander and two safeties, or Alexander with a basic safety about the prime and a linebacker on the within, it was obvious on Sunday the Eco-friendly Bay Packers had been not likely to permit Justin Jefferson defeat them.
When you have an amazing pass rusher, and your opponents double and triple him, what do you need to have? You need to have the rest of your defensive line to step up.
Vikings Need to have a WR2. Poorly.
Very well, when the Packers are devoting huge defensive assets to stopping Jefferson, what do the Vikings have to have? They will need their weapons to step up, which just did not occur.
Not only was this the situation for Minnesota on Sunday, but it is been the scenario for Minnesota all time. As Jefferson goes, so goes the offense. From Philadelphia, Jefferson struggled, and the offense managed only 7 factors. Versus Dallas, Jefferson put up hardly any production. whilst this was primarily owing to an inept offensive line effectiveness –- and Minnesota set up three points.
Then, listed here in Eco-friendly Bay, the Packers did everything they could to shut down Jefferson, and the offense experienced a few factors –= off a punt block that gave them discipline place at the 1-lawn line -– right up until garbage time.
Minnesota’s Weapons Just Aren’t Adequate
T.J. Hockenson was supposed to repair this problem, but when the Vikings required him on Sunday, he was possibly slipping on the turf, failing to box out defenders, dropping passes, or obtaining negligible separation.
Adam Thielen was supposed to be an higher-echelon #2 to Jefferson coming into the 12 months, but he has appeared significantly slower than regular. He has been unable to replicate any place in close proximity to his profession functionality on contested catches. When a receiver struggles to individual, struggles to get YAC –- Thielen is rated 4th worst in the NFL in YAC over predicted amid qualifying receivers for every NextGen Stats -– and struggles to get on contested balls, he just simply isn’t a feasible #2 any more.
Thielen nonetheless has a position on this staff, but that location is as a trusted possession receiver and red zone threat, and for an offense that aspires to be one particular of the most effective in the NFL, that is not superior adequate for your range two receiver.
K.J. Osborn was a dude that lots of imagined could make a bounce to a responsible #2, and while he may well be very well on his way, he is not just about at that amount nonetheless.
Will need an Elite Danger to Enhance Jefferson
Amid the leading groups in the NFL, some of the #2 receivers on the ideal teams are players like Jaylen Waddle, Tee Higgins, Chris Godwin, Devonta Smith, and Brandon Aiyuk. Gamers like these make it very hazardous to dedicate a ton of defensive assets to a team’s #1 receiver for the reason that all of these gamers can go off for enormous video games.
Minnesota requirements a weapon equivalent in high quality to these threats to just take the strain and focus off of Justin Jefferson. If they do not discover that piece, then anybody able of shutting down Jefferson will shut down the Vikings offense. And for a group with an offensive-minded head mentor in Kevin O’Connell, a able QB in Kirk Cousins, and a superstar receiver in Justin Jefferson, that is not appropriate.
The Plan Going Ahead
So, what will Kwesi Adofo-Mensah do?
Numerous mock-drafted Alabama WR Jameson Williams to Minnesota in the 2022 draft, but Vikings huge receivers coach Keenan McCardell passionately implored Adofo-Mensah and the Vikings entrance workplace not to decide on a receiver early, preaching religion in the adult men currently in the room.
As a substitute, they traded back again with Detroit and selected Lewis Cine in the very first round, additionally Andrew Booth and Ed Ingram in the 2nd. They did not decide on a broad receiver right up until the 6th round, the place they chosen Jalen Nailor. Down the street, Nailor could be practical. He definitely seemed the part on Sunday -– albeit in garbage time.
But regardless of what occurs about the remainder of the year, receiver is a enormous will need for Minnesota, which will call for great focus.
Whether or not that will need is stuffed via a trade, the draft, or cost-free company, Minnesota definitely can not go into the 2023 season without having upgrading at the vast receiver situation, not if they want to choose the up coming phase as contenders under Adofo-Mensah and O’Connell.