Justin Jefferson: "Too short" gesture was a "message to the league"

When Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson caught his second touchdown pass of the day on Sunday, his celebration included the "too short" gesture.

After the 21-13 win, I asked him whether it was a message to the Panthers, for assigning five-foot, nine-inch cornerback D'Shawn Jamison to cover one of the best receivers in football.

"I mean, that's a message to the league," Jefferson said. "I’ll go out there to show that it doesn't matter who's out there to stiff me. I'm gonna make a play, I'm gonna make a catch. I'm gonna do whatever it takes for my team to win."

That he did on Sunday, both on the field and on the sideline. After an opening drive touchdown pass to Jefferson was wiped out by a penalty and then followed by a 99-yard interception return for a touchdown.

Following that 14-point swing, Jefferson made sure he justified the "C" on his jersey by trying to get his teammates to believe things can turn around.

"Just keep stressing to keep going, you know?" Jefferson said. "It's a long game. It's a lot of time to go out there and make something happen(. So, it's really just don't get discouraged by the turnover or the bad plays that we have on the field. We just gotta reset and just have that confidence to go back out there, have a better drive and put points on the board."

Still, it didn't look good for the Vikings until it finally did, when safety Harrison Smith forced Panthers quarterback Bryce Young to fumble, and defensive lineman D.J. Wonnum ran it in for a touchdown that gave the Vikings a 14-13 lead in the second half.

"I feel like that changed the whole game around," Jefferson said. "You know, us going back on top. Just us having that momentum from that play. I felt like we kind of leaned on that play and kind of played the rest of the game with more tempo, more energy."

They'll need both next weekend, when the Chiefs — and presumably Taylor Swift — come to town for a late-afternoon game. A win over Kansas City could be exactly the thing the Vikings need to believe that they can climb out of their early-season hole and compete for a playoff berth.