Is Justin Jefferson Ready for a Big Game?

15 Injury Report
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Going up against the Detroit Lions on Sunday, the Minnesota Vikings will be looking to grab a home win despite coming in as slight underdogs. They need every win they can muster at this point of the season, and knocking off the top team in the NFC North will likely require a big performance from superstar wide receiver Justin Jefferson.

Is Justin Jefferson Ready for a Big Game?

Having missed a bulk of the season, Justin Jefferson hasn’t had the year he hoped when coming into 2023. Through his first five games of the season, he led the league in receiving and looked on pace for a historic outcome. That was all taken away when he suffered a hamstring injury.

Jefferson Ready for
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It doesn’t matter what could have been for Jefferson at this point, but finding a way to finish strong and accomplish his revised goals is a must. During his return, Josh Dobbs put Jefferson in harm’s way with an errant pass that the wideout hung onto. That hit ended Jefferson’s day early, and it wasn’t until the matchup of The Griddy in Cincinnati that the former LSU Tiger played another full contest.

With Nick Mullens now fully established under center for Minnesota, it appeared the quarterback and wide receiver had a solid rapport. Mullens went Jefferson’s way 10 times, with the wideout hauling in seven passes for 84 yards. It was a solid game overshadowed by rookie Jordan Addison’s performance.

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When Minnesota took Addison with their first-round pick prior to this season, the hope was that he could pair with Jefferson and spread the opposing defense thin. Teams would no longer be able to solely lock into one wide receiver on the outside, and Addison represented greater upside than the aging veteran Adam Thielen. The flip side is that the additional option should give Jefferson more room to operate.

In the early going this year, albeit with Kirk Cousins under center, Jefferson posted multiple games with over 100 yards receiving, and he topped 150 yards twice. Seeing that sort of output is something that the Vikings would welcome on Sunday against Detroit, and it would go a long way toward giving the Purple a victory.

Jefferson has noted his new goal this season is to surpass 1,000 yards. Needing 318 yards over the final three games, it will take at least one big-time performance to reach that mark. It’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility for a wideout so talented, but being paired with a backup quarterback doesn’t help. Minnesota would probably prefer the yards be sprinkled evenly throughout the next three contests to give them a chance each week. Still, Jefferson popping off for 150-plus yards at one point would also be nice to see.

Do the Vikings Need Justin Jefferson This Week?
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No matter who the opponent is, Jefferson will always see a heightened level of coverage. If he can put his best foot forward and announce his return in a big way on Sunday, the Vikings should find themselves in a spot to knock off a good team and pull the upset victory. It hasn’t ever been a question of how good Jefferson is, but announcing his clean bill of health in a big way on the stat sheet would be nice to see.

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.