Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs formed one of the top wide receiver duos in the NFL for over four seasons. But after playing in only 10 games together, Thielen's new counterpart out wide, rookie Justin Jefferson, believes he and Thielen make for a better pair.
While appearing on the "All Things Covered with Patrick Peterson and Bryant McFadden" podcast, Jefferson said outright that he believes he and Thielen are a better duo than Diggs and Thielen. While he didn't really provide any concrete evidence to back up the claim, he also didn't shy from making the statement. Here's the exchange.
McFadden: "Hey Justin, better duo in Minnesota, Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Justin Jefferson?"
Jefferson: "Adam Thielen, Justin Jefferson."
McFadden: Tell me why?
Jefferson: "One, I'm a rookie but I have the mindset of a veteran. I just try to take every game the same and just try to be consistent. I feel like that's one of the hardest things especially as a rookie is being consistent and having those high-yard games week in and week out. Just having defenses really disguise their game around you, you know that's crazy. Last game was the first time I've seen a robber having a nickel come press and a having corner in the back that was the first time I've seen that in a hot minute. Just seeing that, it (gives) me confidence as well, showing that a defense has to do that to really lock me down."
First off, of course Jefferson is going to say that. He's teammates with Thielen and has no connection to Diggs. Who is he going to believe in more, himself or Diggs? It's an obvious answer. He also has the stats to back it up. At least on his end.
So far this year, Jefferson has caught 52 passes for 918 yards and 6 TDs in 11 games played. If you pick out all of Diggs' best statistical benchmark seasons with the Vikings, he had 102 receptions, 1,130 yards and 9 TDs. While Jefferson isn't getting close to 102 receptions this year, he could eclipse or match the 1,130 yards and 9 TDs considering he still has five more games to play. As for this year specifically, Diggs has 80 catches for 945 yards and 4 TDs, so Jefferson compares favorably with the veteran, who now plays for the Bills after demanding a trade from Minnesota.
As for his partner in Thielen, it's been a second straight down year for him. He missed one game on the COVID list and has 49 catches for 646 yards. He does have a career-high 11 touchdown receptions, but it nowhere near his peak when he caught 113 passes for 1,373 yards teamed up with Diggs in 2018.
It's always fun when a player picks himself over someone else and the media makes a big deal about it. I am here, but I hope it comes off in an of-course-he-did way. Jefferson has every right to think he's better than Diggs and that his combination with Thielen is more dangerous than the previous version. It's all conjecture anyway so let's not make too big of a deal about it.