Minnesota Vikings star Justin Jefferson and Cincinnati Bengals receiver Ja’Marr Chase were inseparable during their college days at LSU.
But as established NFL stars entering a primetime Week 15 matchup with both their teams in the playoff hunt, the conversation with the two has gone quiet.
“We’re not going to talk besides me checking on him,” Chase said on December 14, per ESPN.
The silence between the two stars has also carried over to their upcoming contract talks. Chase is waiting for Jefferson to reset the wide receiver market next offseason as the Bengals star will become eligible for an extension as well after this season.
In his first three seasons, Jefferson amassed the most receiving yards (4,825) by any player in league history. Meanwhile, Chase, who has four games left in his third season, is next on that list with 3,593 receiving yards. Chase has scored 29 touchdowns in his career while Jefferson had 25 through three seasons as the LSU tandem has dominated since entering the league.
Chase is eagerly awaiting Jefferson to strike a deal before he attempts to surpass Jefferson’s next contract.
“I’m not talking nothing about no contract yet, man,” Chase said with a chuckle. “I need to see some more numbers from him.”
Ja’Marr Chase Ranks Himself No. 1, Says Justin Jefferson is More Explosive.
What’s become a perennial talker for the NFL’s best receivers, Chase was asked to rank where he sees himself and Jefferson. He said No. 1 and No. 2, saying he is the best and Jefferson is behind him.
However, he did give Jefferson his credit, saying his smooth and explosive route running is what has established him as a mainstay in the NFL.
“He’s so quick and explosive. You watch film and he makes it look so easy. We can probably do the same move but, just because he’s twitchier and more explosive sometimes, he just has that look in his routes that he makes defenders fly,” Chase said in a locker room interview.
Chase added that he felt Jefferson would outshine his draft status as the fifth wide receiver taken in 2020 with the 22nd overall pick.
“I expected him to go higher if I’m being honest but it’s the league it happens,” Chase said. “I already knew how good he was going to be from the day he left.”
Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson during a 2021 matchup with the Bengals.
Approaching a Saturday, December 16 matchup at the Bengals’ Paycor Stadium, the Vikings (7-6) are 1-point underdogs to Cincinnati (7-6).
Both teams are in the middle of the playoff hunt despite losing their top quarterbacks for the season. Kirk Cousins was lost to an Achilles injury on October 29, while Joe Burrow, ailing from a wrist injury, was placed on injured reserve on November 25.
Former Vikings backup quarterback Jake Browning has led the Bengals to two straight wins where the offense scored 34 points a game. He is 2-1 as a starter this season, completing 79.3% of his pass attempts for 856 yards for four touchdowns and two interceptions and a 113.4 quarterback rating.
Nick Mullens will be the fourth different quarterback to start for the Vikings this season after he relieved Josh Dobbs in the team’s low-scoring 3-0 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders last week.