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Dalvin Cook: I think Justin Jefferson can be one of the best in the game

Vikings rookie WR Justin Jefferson talks about his biggest lesson from his rookie season, what it was like playing with no fans and keys to facing the Buccaneers' defense.

The trade that sent Stefon Diggs from Minnesota to Buffalo looks like one of those rare deals that’s worked out well for both teams.

While Diggs and the Bills advanced to the AFC Championship Game, the Vikings drafted Justin Jefferson at No. 22 overall. He was easily the best receiver out of the rookie class, even though Jefferson was the fifth one off the board behind Henry Ruggs, Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb, and Jalen Reagor.

Most years, registering 88 catches for 1,400 yards with seven touchdowns would be enough to win offensive rookie of the year. But Jefferson’s first season coincided with that of Justin Herbert, who set several passing records and won the AP’s honor.

But Jefferson is nevertheless an emerging star. And during an appearance on The Herd on Friday, running back Dalvin Cook said he quickly figured that out about the receiver.

“It took a conversation, to be honest,” Cook said. “It’s squarely about how you carry yourself, what he stands for, who he is. And you can see right now, him doing the ‘Gritty’ — and that’s something he brought to the game just being who he is. And I think JJ, his ceiling is so high, if he keeps being who he is and keeps working hard, I think he can be one of the best in the game.”

There’s an argument to be made that Jefferson is already at that level. He finished the season fourth in receiving yards, 15th in receptions, and eighth among qualified receivers at 15.9 yards per reception. With a full offseason under his belt, Jefferson should be primed to make even more of an impact in 2021.