Viking recipient Justin Jefferson made a fantastic debut, but he’s not going to take home a Rookie of the Year award.
The Minnesota Vikings used the draft pick they got at the Stefon Diggs deal to take wide receiver Justin Jefferson. All the LSU product did was catch 88 passes for just 1,400 yards and seven touchdowns, even though it wasn’t until Week 3 that more than 70 percent of the offensive snaps were started or played.
Jefferson set the NFL rookie record for yards, beating Anquan Boldin in the 2003 regular season finale (1,377). He, of course, holds the Vikings rookie record for yards and catches, which Randy Moss beat in 1998.
The NFL is now starting to reveal some awards. Pepsi Zero Sugar Offensive Rookie of the Year was announced Thursday morning. The winner was selected for the first time by fan voting on Twitter.
Justin Jefferson should have won the rookie of the year
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert was named Pepsi Zero Sugar NFL Rookie of the Year in 2020. There’s no denying that he’s a worthy contestant as he has set rookie records for passing touchdowns (31) and completions (396) while setting the second most yards (4,336) from a rookie.
Jefferson will fight an uphill battle against other positions for awards. Herbert, who is a quarterback, creates a ingrained advantage for every applicable award and plays in a larger market.
If Jefferson had started playing from the start and found himself in a higher volume pass offense, there’s no telling what his numbers would have been as a rookie. But that context has little place in a popularity poll for this particular award, and Jefferson has lost.
When it comes to losing a fan vote for a Sponsored Rookie of the Year award, Jefferson’s rookie season or the career he started on cannot be compromised. But make no mistake, he was robbed here.