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Vikings’ Adam Thielen likes how outspoken Justin Jefferson ‘believes in himself’

Jefferson has set a goal of being the first receiver to have a 2,000-yard season.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings Training Camp
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) makes a catch during training camp at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on July 29, 2022.
Matt Krohn / USA Today Sports
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Outspoken Justin Jefferson has made headlines lately. He called himself the second-best receiver in the NFL after Davante Adams of Las Vegas and expects to be the best after this season. He has set a goal of being the first receiver to have a 2,000-yard season.

Adam Thielen, the Vikings’ other starting receiver, is all for what Jefferson has said.

“I think if you read the whole picture of what he said, he said that’s his goal (to be the best receiver),’’ Thielen said Friday. “He knows he’s not right there this second, but that’s his goal. That’s exciting, right? You want a guy that believes in himself, that’s confident. We’re confident in him. We know what he’s capable of, and if he keeps putting the work in, that he definitely has an opportunity to do that.”

Thielen is doing some talking himself. He was asked if he has a goal of the Vikings having the best receiving duo in the NFL or the best overall receiving corps.

“Absolutely,’’ he said. “I’m not a goal-oriented person. I don’t really set goals, statistical goals, things like that. But I will say that we have a lot of confidence, not only in what Justin and I can do, but also in our whole receiver group, our skill groups, (quarterback) Kirk (Cousins), our (offensive) line, in being able to protect for us and then this system. It takes a lot of people to be a part of those lists of duos and trios and groups, I guess. So it’s not just two guys. It’s a lot more than that.”

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No. 3 receiver K.J. Osborn didn’t mince words when asked recently about Minnesota’s receiving corps.

“I feel like we’re the best,’’ he said

‘JOHNNY ON THE SPOT’

With Vikings tight end Irv Smith Jr., out for the preseason following surgery on his right thumb, backup Johnny Mundt put it succinctly what he wants to do.

“I like to be Johnny on the spot,’’ he said.

Smith was hurt in practice Monday, had surgery Tuesday and watched practice Friday with a splint on his right hand. Head coach Kevin O’Connell said he expects Smith to be back for the Sept. 11 opener against Green Bay at U.S. Bank Stadium, and Mundt said Smith also expects to return by then.

“It’s a huge bummer to lose Irv for a few weeks, but he’s in great hands,’’ Mundt said. “He’s already gotten it taken care of. He’s getting back it back right in the training room, and I’m taking care of it on the field in his absence.”

Mundt the previous five years was a reserve for the Los Angeles Rams, and he caught just 10 passes in 47 games. With Smith out, Mundt sees a chance to get valuable playing time in practice and when the three-game preseason gets underway Aug. 14 at Las Vegas.

“It opens up some more doors,’’ said Mundt, who caught a short touchdown pass Friday from Cousins. “I’m getting a lot more reps in practice, third-down situations and things like that. Just building chemistry with Kirk and the other quarterbacks and the rest of the team.”

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HUNTER CONGRATULATES BARR

Edge rusher Danielle Hunter spoke with linebacker Anthony Barr after his former teammate reached an agreement Thursday to join the Dallas Cowboys.

“I told him, ‘Welcome to my home state and congrats,’ ’’ said Hunter, who is from Houston.

Barr played for the Vikings the past eight seasons, the last seven as Hunter’s teammate. He has been reunited with George Edwards, who is his third season as a Dallas senior defensive assistant after being Minnesota’s defensive coordinator for six years.

“He’s over there with George,’’ Hunter said. “I’m happy for (Barr) because I know how hard he works, and he deserves what he has.”

BRIEFLY

Vikings running back Kene Nwangwu, who has a lower leg injury that is not considered serious, sat out practice. … Linebacker Jordan Hicks picked off a wayward short pass by Cousins. “The ball was thrown to me, and I caught it,” Hicks said. … Overall, Cousins had a solid day, which also included hitting Osborn on a long touchdown pass.

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This story was written by one of our partner news agencies. Forum Communications Company uses content from agencies such as Reuters, Kaiser Health News, Tribune News Service and others to provide a wider range of news to our readers. Learn more about the news services FCC uses here.

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