Vikings’ Justin Jefferson breaks Randy Moss’ NFL record at Thanksgiving game

It’s fitting that Justin Jefferson broke one of Randy Moss’ records on Thanksgiving. As a Hall of Famer recipient, Moss hosted a Thanksgiving Day practice against the Cowboys that was part of his brilliant 1998 rookie season.

Over two decades later, Jefferson broke Moss’ NFL record for most yards in three seasons of his career (h/t ESPN). Jefferson broke Moss’ record in the first half of the Vikings’ Thanksgiving nightcap against the Patriots.

Jefferson entered the game for 4,109 yards Thursday, 54 yards short of Moss’ record 4,163 yards. He passed Moss with a seven-yard grab at 9:44 of the first half. The catch helped set up Greg Joseph’s game-changing field goal.

Jefferson, who caught a touchdown pass earlier in the half, only needed 43 games to set the record. Moss set the record after completing his third season with the Vikings.

23-year-old Jefferson’s career is eerily similar to how Moss started at Minnesota. Like Moss, Jefferson is a former first-round pick who, at age 20, was slightly younger than Moss when both players were drafted by the Vikings. Both players took the NFL by storm as rookies. Moss caught an NFL rookie who recorded 17 touchdowns while helping the Vikings win 15-1 in the regular season. Jefferson totaled 1,400 yards as a rookie while breaking Moss’ franchise rookie receiving mark.

Both players underpinned their brilliant rookie seasons with phenomenal second campaigns. Moss received Pro Bowl honors for the second year in a row. Jefferson recorded the second-highest single season yards received in franchise history (behind only Moss) while becoming the only Vikings wideouts to hit 100 passes in a season, alongside Moss, Cris Carter and teammate Adam Thielen.

In 11 games, Jefferson is keeping pace with Moss in his third season. He put on 1,093 yards and four touchdowns on 72 receptions Thursday. In 2000, Moss caught 77 passes for 1,437 yards and a league-best 15 touchdowns.

The Vikings are also on track to go further than Moss’ Vikings this season. The Vikings advanced to the NFC Championship Game where they were blown out by the Giants. The current Minnesota team hopes to punch the franchise’s first Super Bowl ticket since January 1977.

Before Moss, Jerry Rice was the undisputed GOAT as far as recipients go. Arguably the best wideout of all time, Rice is the NFL’s career leader with 22,895 receiving yards. Rice rushed for 3,575 yards in his first three seasons. He caught a then-NFL 22 touchdown pass in 1987, despite playing in a strike-shortened 12-game season.


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