Appearing on PFT Live, O’Connell acknowledged that Justin Jefferson will be the Cooper Kupp of the new-look Minnesota offense.
“Absolutely,” O’Connell said. “The one thing about Cooper Kupp this past season is he lined up in a lot of different spots. It was hard for defenses to really know where he was. He did a lot of different things. He had an impact in a lot of phases of our offense beyond just catching a lot of balls and scoring a lot of touchdowns. There was a huge role for Cooper because of his willingness to be completely solidified in every phase, both the run and the pass.
“I see that with Justin. I see an incredible, incredible skillset, but I also see a player we can move around. We can make it hard for defenses to know where he’s going to be. He doesn’t have to line up in the same spot all the time. He doesn’t have to run the same type of routes all the time. He’s dynamic with the ball in his hands. He’s willing in the run game. This guy’s a special, special player. I loved him a couple years ago when he was coming out of the draft. We obviously weren’t in a position to possibly get a chance to coach him. You still go through the process. You see the traits, you see the skillset. He’s really just grown from day one.
“I think he’s got an incredibly bright future. He’s already a superstar in this league in my mind and no better way to build your offense obviously through the lens of a quarterback first and foremost always, but when you have a weapon like that in addition to Adam [Thielen], Irv [Smith], Dalvin [Coook], our great guys up front on the offensive line. It’s been fun to study. Justin Jefferson’s going to have a huge role in our offense and continue to ascend in this league. Cannot wait to start coaching him when we get a chance here coming up this spring.”
So get ready, Vikings fans and fantasy owners. Jefferson is going to move around. He’s going to run different routes. Undoubtedly, he’s going to have plays designed specifically to get the ball in his hands.
Given his skills, that’s great news for him — and for the Vikings.