Justin Herbert, not Justin Jefferson, wins NFL Rookie of the Year

Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson had a fantastic debut, but he will not take home one Rookie of the Year Award.

The Minnesota Vikings used the draft pick they got in the Stefon Diggs trade to take wide receiver Justin Jefferson. All the LSU product did was catch 88 passes for an even 1.400 yards and seven touchdowns, despite not starting or playing more than 70 percent of the offensive snaps until Week 3.

Jefferson set the NFL rookie record for receiving yards, surpassing Anquan Boldin in 2003 (1,377) in the regular season finale. He of course owns the Vikings’ rookie record for receiving yards, and catches, surpassing Randy Moss in 1998.

The NFL is now starting to unveil some awards. Pepsi Zero Sugar Offensive Rookie of the Year was announced on Thursday morning. The winner was selected by fan vote, via Twitter, for the first time.

Justin Jefferson should have won Rookie of the Year

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert has been named 2020 Pepsi Zero Sugar NFL Rookie of the Year. There’s no denying he is a worthy candidate, as he set rookie records for passing touchdowns (31) and completions (396) while putting up the second-most passing yards (4,336) by a rookie.

Jefferson is going to fight an uphill battle against other positions for awards. Herbert being a quarterback creates an ingrained advantage for any applicable award, and he plays in a bigger market.

If Jefferson had started games from the get-go and been in a higher volume pass offense, there’s no telling what his numbers would have been like as a rookie. But that context has little place in what amounts to a popularity vote for this particular award, and Jefferson lost.

When it comes down to it, losing a fan vote for a sponsored Rookie of the Year award does nothing to diminish Jefferson’s rookie season or the career track he has started on. But make no mistake, he was robbed here.