Vikings Justin Jefferson breaks Randy Moss’ NFL record during Thanksgiving game

It’s fitting that Justin Jefferson broke one of Randy Moss’ records on Thanksgiving. A Hall of Fame recipient, Moss put on a clinic against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day as part of his brilliant 1998 rookie season.

Over two decades later, Jefferson broke Moss’ NFL record for most receiving yards through three seasons of a career (via ESPN). Jefferson broke Moss’ record in the first half of the Vikings’ Thanksgiving nightcap against the Patriots.

Jefferson entered Thursday’s game with 4,109 receiving yards, 54 yards shy of Moss’ record of 4,163 yards. He passed Moss on a seven-yard catch with 9:44 left in the first half. The catch helped set up Greg Joseph’s game-tying field goal.

Jefferson, who caught a touchdown pass earlier in the half, needed just 43 plays to set the record. Moss set the record after completing his third season with the Vikings.

The 23-year-old Jefferson’s career is eerily similar to Moss’ start with Minnesota. Like Moss, Jefferson is a former first-round pick who, at age 20, was slightly younger than Moss was when both players were drafted by the Vikings. Both players took the NFL by storm as rookies. Moss caught an NFL rookie 17 touchdowns while helping the Vikings go 15-1 in the regular season. Jefferson tallied 1,400 receiving yards as a rookie while breaking Moss’ franchise rookie receiving mark.

Both players backed up their stellar rookie seasons with phenomenal sophomore campaigns. Moss earned Pro Bowl honors for the second year in a row. Jefferson recorded the second-most single-season receiving yards in franchise history (behind only Moss), while joining Moss, Cris Carter and teammate Adam Thielen as the only Vikings wideouts to catch 100 passes in a season.

Through 11 games, Jefferson is keeping pace with Moss in his third season. He entered Thursday’s game with 1,093 yards and four touchdowns on 72 receptions. In 2000, Moss caught 77 passes for 1,437 yards and a league-best 15 touchdowns.

The Vikings are also on pace to go further than Moss’ Vikings did that season. The Vikings advanced to the NFC Championship Game where they were blown out by the Giants. Minnesota’s current team hopes to punch the franchise’s first ticket to the Super Bowl since January 1977.

Before Moss, Jerry Rice was the undisputed GOAT in terms of receivers. Arguably the greatest wideout of all time, Rice is the NFL’s career leader with 22,895 receiving yards. Rice tallied 3,575 receiving yards over his first three seasons. He caught a then-NFL 22 touchdown passes in 1987 despite playing in a strike-shortened, 12-game season.

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