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Justin Jefferson wants to hit ‘The Griddy’ in another continent. He needs to bounce back to do that.

After putting up huge numbers in the season opener, Jefferson has been held in check the past couple of weeks

Minnesota wide receivers Justin Jefferson (18) and K.J. Osborn (17) celebrate during a Sept. 11, 2022, game against the Green Bay Packers at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
Minnesota wide receivers Justin Jefferson (18) and K.J. Osborn (17) celebrate during a Sept. 11, 2022, game against the Green Bay Packers at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
Jeffrey Becker / USA Today Sports
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EAGAN, Minn. — After bursting onto the scene with a career-high 184 yards and a couple of touchdowns in the season opener against the Green Bay Packers, Vikings star Justin Jefferson seemed well on his way to reaching his lofty goal of 2,000 yards.

Instead, Jefferson has been held in check the past couple of weeks. He was limited to 48 yards against the Philadelphia Eagles with cornerback Darius Slay shadowing him, then only managed 14 yards against the Detroit Lions with Jeffrey Okudah shadowing him.

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To do that, the Vikings need to beat the New York Jets at home on Sunday, and they need the Detroit Lions to lose to the Jacksonville Jaguars at home.

It won’t get any easier for Jefferson this week against the New Orleans Saints with cornerback Marshon Lattimore likely shadowing him.

“He’s a great corner,” Jefferson said. “He’s good with his hands and good with his feet as well. I’m definitely looking forward to going against him. It’s going to be a battle.”

Aside from Lattimore following Jefferson around the field, the Saints will likely help with a safety over the top, as well.

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It’s something the Lions did a lot last weekend with Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell estimating that Jefferson had less than 10 snaps with single coverage.

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Justin Jefferson

“He’s going to see different variations of defenses that he’s going to have to have a plan for,’’ O’Connell said earlier this week. “We’re going to have to have a plan for him that obviously allows him to kind of move within our offense.”

Asked if he’s been frustrated by the ways opposing teams have defended this season, Jefferson said he’s come to expect this type of stuff.

“Just being the type of player I am, I know I’m going to get the double covers and the triple covers, “Jefferson said. “That leaves (K.J. Osborn) and (Adam Thielen) 1 on 1.”

That proved to be detrimental to the Lions last weekend as Osborn roasted his man in coverage on his way to hauling in a 28-yard touchdown pass that proved to be the difference.

“They’ve got to account for every single one of us,” Jefferson said. “It’s difficult to carry all of us at the same time. We’re definitely feeling confident in our game plan to win against them 1 on 1 if they want to play 1 on 1. I guess we’ll see.”

To be clear, though, Jefferson doesn’t want to be used solely as a decoy this season, nor do the Vikings want to use him in that way.

“There are opportunities throughout a game,” offensive coordinator Wes Phillips said. “Sometimes the plays that we had (the past couple of weeks) and the defenses they had called didn’t really mesh with getting him the ball. We certainly want to get him involved as much as we can.”

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As for Kirk Cousins, while he wants to get Jefferson the ball as much as possible, he’s also not going to force anything throughout the game.

“Just keep trying to see week to week how teams defend and take advantage of opportunities when we can,” Cousins said. “The key will be offensive production regardless of who’s getting the ball. I think it will be important that we’re moving the football and scoring points is what matters, and however we do that is great by me.”

Some of this is on Jefferson. He needs to find a way to win his 1 on 1 matchup with more consistency.

After both Slay and Okudah got the best him the past couple of weeks, Jefferson will be looking for a bounce back against Lattimore.

If he does, Jefferson said he will definitely be breaking out his signature touchdown celebration in London.

“It’s going to be my first Griddy in another continent,” Jefferson said. “I’m excited.”

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This story was written by one of our partner news agencies. Forum Communications Company uses content from agencies such as Reuters, Kaiser Health News, Tribune News Service and others to provide a wider range of news to our readers. Learn more about the news services FCC uses here.

Related Topics: MINNESOTA VIKINGS
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