Could Justin Jefferson be the first receiver to win NFL MVP?

Sport

No receiver has ever won the NFL’s MVP award. Not a single one. Could this be the year that changes?

The problem for great receivers is that there’s always a quarterback who made them great. Between the two, the quarterback will get the bulk of the votes — or at least enough of them to dilute the receiver’s tally.

For a receiver to win it, he needs to have a season that is historic, if not record-setting. And he needs to have a quarterback who prompts more shrugs of indifference than shouts of amazement.

Enter Justin Jefferson. Already one of the most accomplished receivers in the league despite playing for a defensive-minded head coach and two different offensive coordinators, new coach Kevin O’Connell is implementing a Rams-style offense that will make Jefferson into Minnesota’s answer to Cooper Kupp.

Last year, Jefferson had 108 catches and 1,616 receiving yards. This year, he could explode in the new offense.

With Kirk Cousins throwing the passes, the votes could skew toward Jefferson. Cousins would need to throw for more than 5,400 passing yards and 50 touchdowns to get serious consideration for MVP, or the Vikings would have to be the No. 1 seed in the NFC.

It’s more likely that Jefferson will go off statistically this year, possibly enough that he potentially enters the conversation to be the first ever receiver to be the Most Valuable Player in the NFL.