The Vikings Will Go One More Game Without Their Star WR

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

The Minnesota Vikings have been without their star wide receiver Justin Jefferson for the past six games.

Strangely enough, the Vikings offense hasn’t missed much of a beat without him. Minnesota has gone 5-1 since Jefferson injured his hamstring in Week 5 against the Kansas City Chiefs and have put together over 350 total yards of offense in four of their six games without him.

Now, it seems like the Vikings will go one more game without Jefferson as ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported on Sunday that Jefferson “is not expected to play” when Minnesota’s kicks off their division rivalry game against the Chicago Bears.

The Vikings Will Go One More Game Without Their Star WR

Vikings Will Go
Jun 8, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Fowler tweeted Sunday evening, “Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (questionable, hamstring) is not expected to play Monday night vs. Bears, per source. Vikings will give him the bye week – and he’ll be a big part of the team’s playoff push over the final five games.”

This has been the expected outcome throughout the week. The Vikings have been playing it safe with Jefferson since opening his 21-day practice window as they should considering he is a huge part of their offense not only in 2023 but for years to come.

Jefferson was listed as questionable going into Monday night’s contest against Chicago after being a limited participant in practice throughout the week.

Sep 10, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) warms up before the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Jefferson discussed his status on Friday with reporters, saying, “If I miss this one, it’s going to be the seventh game, so it’s definitely frustrating, and it’s tough to be patient and try to make sure that an injury heals properly. It’s definitely not something I want to do, but it comes with the game, it comes with trying to be healthy, trying to be 100% and the safe route.”

It is always frustrating for a player to miss extended time during a season, but it is especially so when they started the year on such a tear. Through the first five games of the season, Jefferson was one of league’s leaders in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving TDs by catching 36 passes for 571 yards and 3 TDs.

Luckily, the Vikings have found some terrific production from other players in Jefferson’s absence, namely rookie first-round pick Jordan Addison. In the six games without Jefferson, Addison has totaled 29 receptions for 398 yards and 4 TDs. However, the rookie has not scored since Week 8 against the Green Bay Packers.

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Minnesota Vikings
Sep 10, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jordan Addison (3) reacts with wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) after scoring his first career touchdown pass from quarterback Kirk Cousins (not pictured) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

With Addison realizing some of his potential, Jefferson’s return to the field only becomes more interesting. If Addison can remain productive alongside the superstar, Minnesota could find themselves with one of the best wide receiver duos in the league for years to come.

The Vikings have until 3 PM Central to reverse course and activate Jefferson to the 53-man roster, but assuming they don’t, his target return date would move to Week 14 against the Las Vegas Raiders following Minnesota’s bye.

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.

Share: