NFL Offensive Player of the Year Award: Justin Jefferson Named Winner for 2022-2023 Season

The NFL has announced its Offensive Player of the Year award winner for the 2022-2023 season -- Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson.

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson has been named the NFL Offensive Player of the Year for the 2022-23 season. Jefferson took home the award at the NFL Honors ceremony on Thursday night, winning over three other finalists: Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts, and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

Justin Jefferson Wins 2022-2023 NFL Offensive Player of the Year

Jefferson has been dominant since entering the NFL as a first-round pick in 2020, but the 2022 campaign was his best season yet.

The 23-year-old appeared in all 17 games and led the league in receptions (128), yards (1,809), and first downs (80) while scoring eight touchdowns. After earning second-team All-Pro berths in each of his first two seasons, Jefferson was named a first-team All-Pro this year alongside Hill and Las Vegas Raiders wideout Davante Adams.

Jefferson posted six games with at least 10 catches and four games with at least 150 yards. At one point, he was on pace to threaten Calvin Johnson’s NFL receiving record of 1,964 yards, but a few lackluster games prevented him from reaching that mark. Still, Jefferson’s 1,809 yards were the sixth-most in a single NFL season.

Facing the Buffalo Bills in Week 10, Jefferson posted one of the most memorable highlights in recent NFL history. With the Vikings down four points with two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Jefferson converted a 4th-and-18 with an insane, one-handed catch that went for 32 yards.

Minnesota went on to defeat Buffalo, and Jefferson’s reception will be remembered as one of the best of all time. The Pro Football Hall of Fame now displays the gloves and arm sleeve Jefferson wore during that victory.

Four weeks later, Jefferson registered one of the most productive outings of his career against the Detroit Lions. He hauled in 11 of 15 targets for 223 yards, breaking Sammy White’s Vikings receiving record that had stood for 46 years.

Some of Jefferson’s equipment is already in Canton — given his current pace, he’ll eventually get a bust there, too. Jefferson has recorded more receptions (324) and yards (4,825) through his first three seasons than any receiver in league history.

Tyreek Hill Was Also a Legitimate OPOY Contender

Mahomes and Hurts would certainly have been viable Offensive Player of the Year winners, but Hill was probably the next-best candidate after Jefferson.

Traded from the Chiefs to the Dolphins before the season, Hill somehow put up the best season of his career without catching passes from Mahomes. He was a true game-breaker who unlocked Miami’s offense, created more space for fellow wideout Jaylen Waddle, and helped Tua Tagovailoa post his best numbers as a Dolphin.

MORE: 2023 NFL Honors Results — List of 2022-2023 NFL Awards Winners

Hill finished second to Jefferson in receptions and yards, but the Vikings’ receiver was given more opportunities. Minnesota finished sixth in total offensive plays, while Miami finished 27th, and Jefferson ran 150 more routes than Hill.

Hill led the NFL with 3.2 yards per route run. Jefferson finished second (2.62), but his lead in volume was too significant for Hill to make up as voters chose the 2022 OPOY.

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