Justin Jefferson

Sep 26, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) carries the ball during the third quarter against Seattle Seahawks at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

With an eight-yard gain on Minnesota’s opening drive Sunday in the Vikings’ 30-17 win over Seattle, second-year wide receiver Justin Jefferson notched his 100th career reception.

He went on to catch eight more passes from quarterback Kirk Cousins to boost his career totals to 108 grabs for 1,654 yards and nine touchdowns.

The former LSU star has played just 19 games in the NFL.

Jefferson in the ninth player in NFL history to reach triple-digit catches in 19 contests or less and just the fifth receiver. He joins fellow wideouts Odell Beckham Jr. (133 catches), Michael Thomas (117), Anquan Boldin (115) and Jarvis Landry (108) on that list. Four pass-catching running backs, most recently New York Giants stud Saquon Barkley, notched 100+ receptions in 19 games.

MOST RECEPTIONS THROUGH A PLAYER'S FIRST 19 GAMES
PLAYER TGT REC YDS TD YDS/REC CTCH%
Odell Beckham Jr. 196 133 1,829 16 13.8 67.9%
Michael Thomas 158 117 1,447 11 12.4 74.1%
Anquan Boldin 190 115 1,495 8 13.0 60.5%
Alvin Kamara 138 111 1,115 6 10.1 80.4%
Justin Jefferson 155 108 1,654 9 15.3 69.7%
Jarvis Landry 147 108 988 5 9.2 73.5%
Reggie Bush 145 104 812 2 7.8 71.7%
Saquon Barkley 139 102 795 4 7.9 73.4%
Christian McCaffrey 139 102 808 5 7.8 73.4%

Although Beckham Jr., Thomas and Boldin tallied more receptions, Jefferson has been the bigger playmaker thus far compared to the beginning of their careers. Jefferson averages 15.3 yards per catch (OBJ is next at 13.8) and 10.7 yards per target (OBJ 9.3). He’s also caught a higher clip of passes thrown his way than OBJ, Thomas and Boldin, although Landry -- primarily used out of the slot -- had a better mark than Jefferson.

Beckham Jr., named the Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2014, surpassed the 100-catch mark in 14 games. Boldin was the second-fastest with 101 receptions in 16 games.

Of course, this means Jefferson is the fastest Vikings player to rack up 100+ catches in purple.

He beat out wide receiver Stefon Diggs and, surprisingly, tight end Jermaine Wiggins by one game. Through his initial 19 career contests, Diggs had 87 catches before hauling in 13 receptions for 80 yards in his 20th game. Entering his fifth season in the NFL in 2004, Wiggins was a breakout star for Mike Tice’s offense and posted 97 catches for 908 yards in his first 19 contests in a Vikings uniform. He added six catches in game No. 20.

Two other Vikings grabbed their 100th career grab in 22 games or less -- running back Rickey Young and Hall of Fame receiver Randy Moss.

Young led the league in receptions in 1978 with 88, his first season with the Vikings. He surpassed the 100-catch mark in his 21st game with the Vikings. Moss, who still holds the NFL rookie record for touchdowns as a first-year receiver (17), didn’t haul in his 100th catch until his 22nd game. He had 78 receptions for 1,436 yards and 18 scores through 19 games.

The 2020 draft class is renowned for its talent at wide receiver. Jefferson, the No. 22 overall pick, is the best of the bunch. Dallas’ CeeDee Lamb has 1,186 yards and six touchdowns on 92 catches to start his career. Pittsburgh’s Chase Claypool and Cincinnati’s Tee Higgins, a pair of second-rounders, are tied for third in the class with 77 career catches.

Meanwhile, Philadelphia receiver Jalen Reagor -- selected one pick ahead of Jefferson at No. 21 overall – has never had more than six catches or 55 receiving yards in a single game. He’s dealt with injury problems but still only has 44 receptions for 503 yards and two scores in 14 career outings.

Jefferson is making NFL history, all while establishing the most popular celebration in the league.