EAGAN, Minn. -- Justin Jefferson knew he had to hit The Griddy last weekend. He had been thinking about it in the days leading up to Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans, and he hoped he would get to do it in the end zone at some point.
Not in his wildest dreams did he think he’d get to do it on his way into the end zone.
Yet there Jefferson was, approaching paydirt at U.S. Bank Stadium after hauling in an impressive over-the-shoulder catch and eluding a couple of Titans defenders in the open field. In that moment, instinct took over, and the Twin Cities got its introduction to a new dance move.
“The whole week leading up to it, I knew I was going to get the opportunity to go out there and start and to make some plays,” he said. “I’d been talking with my friends and teammates, thinking about if it was the perfect scenario, me just Griddying into the end zone. It was the right place at the right time. I just remembered it, and I just did it.”
The dance move is an ode to New Orleans, and its exact movements are a little hard to explain. Think of it as if hopscotch and jump rope had a baby. It’s something Jefferson popularized during his time at LSU, especially last season when he scored 18 touchdowns, and he’s hoping to do the same with the Minnesota Vikings.
More efforts like last weekend from Jefferson and it won’t be long before The Griddy takes off across the Twin Cities. He finished the game against the Titans with 175 receiving yards and a touchdown, showcasing why the Vikings grabbed him with the No. 22 overall pick of April’s NFL draft.
“That was incredible,” offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak said. “His ability to lock in on a game plan from a positional standpoint, how we tried to settle him down on exactly what we’re asking him to do, moving around and doing those types of things, has led to some quick production. Hopefully there will be more. We just need to continue to ask more of him. He’s shown every indication he can handle it.”
It’s clear that Jefferson’s breakout performance last weekend has given the coaching staff confidence in him moving forward. It’s also given him confidence in himself that he’s right where he’s supposed to be.
“It feels great,” Jefferson said. “Just knowing that I’m capable of going out there, making those plays and being a big part of this offense. That’s really just what I want to do. Just be a reliable part of this offense and be that person they can go to in order to get a big play.”
It helps that his chemistry with veteran quarterback Kirk Cousins appears to be growing by the day. It wouldn’t shock anyone if Cousins looked to Jefferson early and often against the Houston Texans this Sunday at NRG Stadium.
“He was just a consistent contributor (last) Sunday, and that’s great to see,” Cousins said. “It’s great to see the talent that he brought to the offense. It certainly wasn’t too big for him. We’ll try to build on that as best we can.”
If everything goes according to plan, Jefferson will be hitting The Griddy a bunch more times this season. He’s hoping it will be as soon as this weekend since five family members will be in the stands thanks to the Texans allowing some spectators to attend. If not, Jefferson will always have last weekend, a moment he said he will remember for the rest of his life.
“I’m glad I did it,” hen said. “It was crazy. All of my teammates were going crazy. It was a good experience.”