A Griddy Game on Tap for Vikings
The Minnesota Vikings head to Cincinnati on Saturday for a game against the Bengals. When they take the field, all eyes will be on superstar wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Going up against former LSU teammate Ja’Marr Chase will be a battle of who is the griddiest.
A Griddy Game on Tap for Vikings
Missing seven games after suffering a hamstring injury against the Kansas City Chiefs, Justin Jefferson returned to the field for the Vikings last week against the Las Vegas Raiders. An errant pass (that Jefferson caught) from Josh Dobbs had him climbing the ladder, and a brutal hit had Jefferson leaving the field. After heading to a local hospital to be checked out, the Vikings wideout returned home with the team.
Despite the questionable tag, Jefferson has suggested he will be good to go for the game on Saturday. That means the Vikings should completely take off the restrictions and get him back into action at full go. With Nick Mullens making his first start of the season, having a full complement of weapons will be a must.
Before he missed time, Jefferson was on a breakneck pace. He had nearly 550 yards through his first four games and had already put up a pair of 150-yard performances. We haven’t seen how he’ll acclimate back into the offense through a full game, but Jefferson did catch two of his three targets on Sunday and looked every bit as explosive as would be expected.
Saturday’s game will mark the second time Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase have played against each other since entering the National Football League. The last such contest took place on September 12, 2021, and was also played in Ohio. Jefferson hauled in five of his nine targets for a total of 71 yards. He also completed a pass for 11 yards. In that contest, it was Chase who found the end zone and was able to get his Griddy on. Joe Burrow connected with Chase on five of seven targets for 101 yards and a score.
Things are different on both sides this weekend. Kirk Cousins is not under center for Minnesota, and Burrow has recently been placed on injured reserve after undergoing season-ending surgery. Both Jefferson and Chase will have to do the heavy lifting for their respective quarterbacks, but the Bengals’ Jake Browning has been on a hot stretch of late.
The pair of former LSU Tigers likely have a good deal of friendly competition between them, and when they match up on the gridiron, putting up numbers is a good way to get the upper hand. Chase has been talking off the field, suggesting he’s the best in the league, which also overlooks Dolphins speedster Tyreek Hill, but Jefferson can let his game speak with a big performance.
Minnesota comes in as a slight underdog, and that’s beyond fair after the way they played last weekend against the Los Vegas Raiders. If the Thursday Night contest in which the Raiders scored 63 points is any indication, though, maybe the Vikings have the football gods on their side, and they go off on an offensive explosion.
Kevin O’Connell’s team needs to keep stacking wins if they want to make the playoffs, and finishing with three straight divisional games won’t make that road any easier. Here’s to hoping Jefferson gets the last laugh on Saturday night.
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Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.