The Vikings' Justin Jefferson is on pace -- barely -- to break Calvin Johnson's single-season receiving record. David Berding/Getty Images
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Calvin Johnson broke the National Football League record for receiving yards in a season ten years ago. He finished the 2012 season with 1,962 yards, a mark that has withstood two notable challenges, and faces two more this season.

With three games left in the season, Jefferson is 7 yards ahead of Johnson's all-time receiving yards record. To get to 1,529 yards, Hill would have to add 36 yards to his average. Both players have exceeded their career highs in receiving yards in their first year in a new offensive system and each will have an additional regular-season game.

Johnson broke Jerry Rice's record of 1,848 yards in his 15th game of the season, and reached his final total in the 16th game. The regular season of the National Football League was increased to 17 games in 2021.

The extra game gave the Los Angeles Rams a chance to get within 17 yards of Johnson's record. The closest was in 2015, when the Atlanta Falcons' Julio Jones had 1,871 receiving yards.

Johnson expressed surprise that the record hadn't yet been broken and said it was only a matter of time before the season ended.

You have to put it in context. I believe that is the only way to do it. There will be more records coming down. You have more time to do it. It will not be easy but it will happen.

While playing for Kevin O'Connell, Jefferson leads the league in both receiving and targets, and he also leads the league in yards. The Dolphins' decision to acquire Hill during the off-season was rewarded by him. He's second in targets and second in both yards and catches.

Justin Jefferson: 1,623 yards

It's 341 yards away from the record.

The Vikings will play the New York Giants, Green Bay Packers, and Chicago Bears.

Why has Jefferson done so well? A few minutes after the Vikings introduced him as their coach, O'Connell grabbed a team staffer's phone and started a call with his star receiver. O'Connell told Jefferson that he had to do it all and Jefferson grinned from ear to ear.

Jefferson took it very seriously. He's played 95.6% of the offensive snaps for the Vikings. He missed about a third of his snaps after O'Connell put backups in the game. Hill has played 75% of the snaps for the Dolphins.

After his 23rd birthday this summer, Jefferson predicted that he would be the top receiver in the NFL by the year 2022. He is well on his way to earning his first All-Pro honors, as he has earned more Pro Bowl votes than any player in theNFC.

Jefferson's ability to get open and achieve favorable position on defenders and his ability to catch and hold on to the ball in traffic are two of the elite skills he has displayed.

In the fourth quarter of the Vikings' historic comeback victory over the Indianapolis Colts, there was a recent example of his route running prowess. A play that Los Angeles Rams receiver Cooper Kupp developed two years ago was the reason Jefferson ran a whip route against Gilmore.

Jefferson had to head toward the sideline from the 8 yard line. He made an initial cut inside, gave Gilmore a stutter step and then changed direction again. Gilmore fell several steps behind and scored.

His routes are so filthy.@JJettas2

📺: @NFLNetwork

— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) December 17, 2022

Patrick said that he ran three routes in a single day. He has a great deal of confidence in himself. His attention to details on how to get open, and how detailed he had to be to run that whip route, was just incredible.

Gilmore threw his shoulder at Jefferson as he leaped to catch a 3-yard pass, hitting him on the chin. Jefferson kept control of the ball despite the officials throwing their flags.

He has only dropped one ball all season, one thrown behind him.

His best trait might be his ability to hang on to the football, according to his dad.

"I said I agree with you," he said. I told him that some of the catches he is making are difficult. His ability to consistently hold on in traffic and hear footsteps is an elite trait.

It will be exciting if I get close to it. The record doesn't matter if we reach the big goal as a team.

Two of the Vikings' final three games will be played in cold weather, Week 17 at Chicago's Soldier Field and Week 18 at Green Bay. Jefferson has surpassed 100 receiving yards in four of his five outdoor games, but the schedule could pose a challenge. Over the last 100 years, teams playing December/January games in Chicago and Green Bay have averaged less passing yards per game than teams playing indoors.

The Vikings have already won the North and have only a small chance to win the title. They will protect the No. 2 seed if they play for anything by the 17th or 18th. O'Connell may prioritize his health over playing time if he can sell Jefferson on it.

O'Connell said that he was going to fight him every time they talked. We will pick our spots.

There is a stat to know about Jefferson. He has more receiving yards on passes thrown to the sideline than the next closest receiver. Jefferson has thrown the sixth most passes to the sideline in a single season.

The final yardage prediction was 1,962. Jefferson's projection was 18 yards shy of the record. He has been at or above 30% in three straight games and the projection assumes a 30% target share. The Giants, Packers, and Bears are ranked 17th, 27th, and 16th, respectively, in receiving yards allowed to receiver.

The Dolphins' Tyreek Hill has six games with over 140 yards this season. With a couple more, he could potentially retake the lead in receiving yards. Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Tyreek Hill: 1,529 yards

It's close to breaking the record.

The Dolphins' remaining opponents are ranked.

Hill has been so dominant. Hill can change a game in a hurry. The game was about eight minutes long. Hill gave a preview of what his first season with the Dolphins would be like during the team's thrilling comeback victory over the Baltimore Ravens in Week 2, in which he recorded four catches for 136 yards and two touchdown in the final 7:54 seconds of the game.

He is special. "You want to cover him a certain way when you see him out there," Mostert said. Tua Tagovailoa just launched the ball. Put us back in the game with that two touchdown play.

Tyreek Hill, MIA767
Justin Jefferson, MIN725
Jaylen Waddle, MIA686
Davante Adams, LV626
Travis Kelce, KC576

Even if you only counted games in which he recorded more than 100 yards, Hill would still make the top 10. With three games remaining in the season, he has set a career high in receiving yards, breaking the preseason skepticism about his effectiveness.

He uses his trademark speed in his route running. He has been wide open on more than 20% of his targets this season.

Hill's impact goes beyond his statline. His presence on the field opens things up for teammates like fellow receiver Jaylen Waddle, who exploited a gap against the San Francisco 49ers coverage in Week 13 for a 75-yard touchdown.

Hill's job each and every week is to focus on the next game. It would be selfish of me to sit here and say, "Hey, I want to break the record." I'm one of the leaders on the team and I want to make sure we're doing the right thing and doing the right thing at the same time.

The Dolphins play two legitimate lockdown corners over their next three games, which could pave the way for a big week from Waddle. In order to make the playoffs for the first time in three years, the Miami Dolphins need to beat both the New York Jets and the New England patriots.

The Dolphins have often funneled their offense through him. In his past seven games, the seven-time Pro Bowler has at least 80 receiving yards in five of them.

Hill has 767 receiving yards when the closest defender was 3 or more yards from him. When he's open, he leads all wide receiver with 70 targets.

The final yardage prediction was 1,825. The projections show Hill with 9 more receiving yards than Jefferson, but he's almost 100 yards off Jefferson's pace so a long shot to break Johnson's record. Hill is projected to have a 32% target share, which is in line with his rate. The Packers are 27th in receiving yards allowed and the Jets are 31st in receiving yards allowed.