MINNEAPOLIS -- Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson was a popular fan pick for the cover of the next Madden video game, but the powers that be at EA went a different route.
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen will instead grace the cover of "Madden 24," the franchise announced Wednesday.
Allen is certainly a fine choice -- over the last three years, he's been an MVP contender, averaging 4,411 yards, 36 touchdowns and 13 interceptions per season. The Bills finished first in the AFC East each of those years, and they've become perennial preseason Super Bowl picks.
As exciting a player as Allen is, he's not as explosively charismatic as Jefferson is. The 23-year-old receiver's combination of otherworldly talent, infectious personality and signature touchdown dance has made him one of the young faces of the NFL. Last season, he set franchise records for catches (128) and yards (1,809), was namedand was the only non-quarterback to be an MVP finalist.
It's worth nothing that, aside from "Madden 23," which was emblazoned with the visage of John Madden himself in honor of the football legend's passing, the Madden franchise has largely leaned on quarterbacks as cover athletes recently. Here are the most recent covers:
- "Madden 22": Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes
- "Madden 21": Lamar Jackson
- "Madden 20": Patrick Mahomes
A wide receiver hasn't made the cover since Odell Beckham Jr. on "Madden 16."
Two Vikings have made a Madden cover: Daunte Culpepper was on "Madden 2002" and Adrian Peterson was on an alternate cover for "Madden 25," which, confusingly, came out in 2013. Perhaps Vikings fans should count themselves lucky Jefferson wasn't selected. Culpepper had a clunker of a year in 2002, tossing only 18 touchdowns against 23 interceptions and leading the league in fumbles with 23. In 2014, the year after Peterson's cover appearance, he was indicted on child abuse charges and placed on the commissioner's exempt list, missing most of the season. He had one more productive season after that before his career fizzled out.
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