Every great catch begins with a throw. Sometimes the throw is great. Sometimes it’s just a desperation heave-ho.
Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson made the catch of a lifetime on Sunday in Buffalo. A blend of David Tyree in Super Bowl XLII and OBJ on SNF with a dash of Jermaine Kearse in Super Bowl XLIV. After the game, Jefferson explained to Peter King of Football Morning in America that the play began with a wing and a prayer from quarterback Kirk Cousins.
“Before we left the huddle,” Jefferson said of the fourth and 18 play with the game on the line, “Kirk said to me, ‘Hey, I might just throw this up to you.’ Kirk knew. We just needed to make something happen.”
And they did. To his credit, Cousins trusted Jefferson with a throw that was in the vicinity. To his credit, Jefferson made a catch that defies physics or logic.
“I felt how close [cornerback Cam Lewis] was,” Jefferson said. “I knew it was going to be a battle for the ball. On plays like that, I don’t remember exactly what happened. But I’m going up, I’m going to fight for the ball. That’s my ball. Since ninth grade, those are the balls I think I should catch. I’m just happy Kirk trusted me and put the ball up for me to catch.”
The Jefferson catch came on the same day former Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs had made an impressive, one-handed snare earlier in the game. Jefferson is the guy the Vikings got to replace Diggs. Jefferson has become everything that Vikings ever could have hoped he’d be, and then some.
With plays like yesterday’s, Jefferson may help the Vikings get to a level they haven’t enjoyed since 1976. Overlooked in the team’s 0-4 futility in the Super Bowl is that, since losing Super Bowl XI to the Raiders, the Vikings are 0-7 in the NFC Championship.