Justin Jefferson Will Be Placed on IR

Oct 8, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) before the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The nightmare season for the Minnesota Vikings continues.

Not only has Minnesota fallen to 1-4 to begin the year, largely because of some silly turnovers and other mistakes, but now, they will have to move forward without the best wide receiver in the league.

Justin Jefferson missed the final stretch of Minnesota’s Week 5 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs with a hamstring injury. This injury is severe enough that the Vikings have decided it would be best to place the star WR on injured reserve.

Justin Jefferson Heads to IR

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles
Sep 14, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) is tackled by Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Darius Slay (2) during the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The news was reported by Tom Pelissero of NFL Network early on Tuesday morning. Pelissero tweeted, “The #Vikings plan to place WR Justin Jefferson on injured reserve because of the hamstring injury he suffered in Sunday’s loss to Kansas City, per sources. The exact timeline is TBD based on how he responds to treatment. But Jefferson is out at least four games.”

Jefferson has been an ironman throughout his NFL career, never missing any time due to injury. He had played all 55 games in a row to begin his career, making 53 starts.

Now, though, the star receiver will miss at least four games in a stretch where the Vikings could either begin turning around their season or fall further into the cellar. Here is what the next four games look like for the Vikings:

  • Week 5 at Chicago Bears
  • Week 6 vs. San Francisco 49ers
  • Week 7 at Green Bay Packers
  • Week 8 at Atlanta Falcons
Justin Jefferson Heads to IR
Oct 1, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) catches a touchdown pass as Carolina Panthers cornerback D’Shawn Jamison (29) defends in the third quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

These were already going to be tough games for the Vikings, but without Jefferson, who has been the heart and soul of Minnesota’s offense over the past couple years, they only get that much more difficult.

Jefferson was on a torrent pace to begin the 2023 season, catching 33 passes for 543 yards and 3 TDs over the first four games of the season before being held to 3 catches for 28 yards in Week 5 against the Chiefs.

He led the league in receiving yards once again through the first four weeks of the year and seemed well on his way to the first 2000-yard receiving year in NFL history. Now, though, those dreams appear to be dashed, especially if he were to miss more than just four games.

Justin Jefferson Can Break All Sorts of Records in 2023
Jan 15, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) looks on during warmups before a wild card game against the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Regardless, the Vikings now have to move forward without their biggest star. The big question is, who actually will play receiver for Minnesota moving forward. Jalen Nailor still remains on IR until at least Week 6, so the Vikings have only three players on the 53-man roster at the position: Jordan Addison, K.J. Osborn, and Brandon Powell.

As it stands, it appears that this will give the Vikings a chance to see how Addison, their 2023 first-round pick, performs with much more defensive attention without Jefferson in the lineup. That journey without Jefferson begins on Sunday when the Vikings take on the Bears at Soldier Field.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.