With the NFL regular season over and the playoffs inching closer to completion, the league recently announced finalists for some end-of-season awards for the 2022 campaign. One award that always draws attention is the MVP award, and the Minnesota Vikings star receiver Justin Jefferson was one of the five finalists.
Last week, Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson was among the list of five finalists for The Associated Press 2022 MVP award, also being named a finalist for the AP NFL Offensive Player of the Year. Jefferson, the second non-quarterback to be named an MVP finalist since 2017, was joined by Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts, and Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen as the full list of finalists.
There has only been one non-quarterback to be named MVP over the past decade, with former Vikings running back Adrian Peterson winning the title in 2012. And although many think a quarterback will claim the award again this year, Jefferson makes a strong case to be league MVP when the award winner is announced.
Why Justin Jefferson Should Win MVP
Ever since coming into the NFL as a first-round pick out of LSU in the 2020 NFL Draft, Jefferson has improved every year in the league now at the age of 23. In 2022, he had one of his best seasons yet, if not his best year to date. That dominant campaign was enough to not only officially secure his place as one of the top receivers in the league, but also earned him recognition for the annual MVP award.
After tallying 88 catches for 1,400 yards and seven touchdowns as a rookie in 2020, followed by 108 catches for 1,616 yards and 10 touchdowns in his sophomore season in 2021, Jefferson took yet another leap in his third year in 2022. Jefferson finished the season with a career-high 128 catches for 1,809 yards and eight touchdowns, averaging a career-best 106.4 yards per game with a catch percentage of 69.6 percent throughout the 17-game regular season.
By the end of the year, Jefferson not only shattered Vikings record books while setting the new mark for catches and receiving yards in a year surpassing Vikings greats Cris Carter and Randy Moss, but he also etched his name in NFL record books league-wide. Jefferson, who was at one point on pace to reach 2,000 receiving yards which would have been the first occurrence in league history, finished sixth all-time in receiving yards. Jefferson’s 1,809 yards remains behind only Antonio Brown (1,834 in 2015), Jerry Rice (1,848 in 1995), Julio Jones (1,871 in 2015), Cooper Kupp (1,947 in 2021), and Calvin Johnson (1,964 in 2012) for the single-season record-holders.
Jefferson had a record year — and even had the Catch of the Year — and a year we haven’t seen often throughout league history. That alone is enough to put himself in the MVP conversation and to be considered a series MVP candidate.
Best Receiver in the NFL
Not only has Jefferson shattered records in just his third year, but he has gone from an impressive rookie receiver to one of the top wideouts in the entire NFL in just three short seasons.
Jefferson has taken the league over by storm, and he is not only the best wide receiver on Minnesota’s roster, but he could be considered the top player at his position in the entire league. That alone should put eyes on the talented receiver as someone who should be strongly considered for the league MVP award.
You want the best players in the league competing for the top award and they deserve that right to be in the conversation on an annual basis. Jefferson has reached that level and status, which is apparent while he is the only non-quarterback on the list of five MVP finalists.
Jefferson had a historic year in 2022 and has taken the NFL over by storm. He is the best receiver in the league and won’t be going anywhere anytime soon at the age of 23. Though it’s not common for a non-quarterback to win MVP, Jefferson could ultimately claim multiple MVP awards by the end of his career if his play to this point continues. And in 2022, he made a strong case to take home his first award as the league’s top player.
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