Do the Vikings Need Justin Jefferson This Week?

Justin Jefferson's "Average" Games Are Great
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Going into Sunday night’s game against the Denver Broncos, it seemed logical to think that Justin Jefferson would return from injured reserve a week after he was able. While sitting out another week gave him additional time to heal, it may make sense to double down against the Chicago Bears.

Do the Vikings Need Justin Jefferson This Week?

It was never a good thing for the Vikings to lose the NFL’s best wide receiver. When Justin Jefferson went down against the Kansas City Chiefs, a collective sigh was let out by fans all around the league. Seeing his dynamic talent on display each week is a treat, and having that stripped away for any period is not fun.

Do the Vikings Need Justin Jefferson This Week?
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Needing to turn the tide on a season spinning out of control, Kirk Cousins was now forced to rely on his star tight end and emerging rookie wide receiver. T.J. Hockenson and Jordan Addison stepped up for Minnesota, but then Cousins himself went down. After a herculean first appearance, Josh Dobbs has settled in as the Vikings’ signal caller and continued to utilize the same threats.

Playing against the Broncos in prime time, Dobbs could have gotten Jefferson as a weapon for the first time. That ultimately didn’t happen when Minnesota decided to downgrade him to out again. The game itself showed that the offense was in a fine place without him. Although Jefferson could have helped to spread the field a bit more, the passing game was fine. Dobbs didn’t look nearly as crisp as his first two games, but he spread the ball around and moved it down the field.

Kudos for Justin Jefferson in National WR Rankings
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Facing a lackluster Chicago Bears team at home, there should be even less incentive to rush Jefferson back. Minnesota beat Chicago in Week 6 by a 19-13 tally, and while that’s not a dominating victory by any means, it happened at Soldier Field, and they’ll take those any way they can.

It was the first contest in which Chicago lost their starting quarterback, Justin Fields, for a period of time. After suffering an injury against Minnesota, Tyson Bagent stepped in for Fields and started multiple games in his absence. The Bears couldn’t mount a comeback that weekend against the Vikings, and Fields being back under center shouldn’t shift things enough with the game being played at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Chicago is among the worst teams in the NFL. Despite being in position to win against the division-leading Detroit Lions last week, they did as expected and folded. Fields couldn’t elevate his play and ultimately put Dan Campbell’s team in a position for the lead before his fumble and safety cap on the contest. Coming off a defeat snatched from the jaws of victory against the Broncos, Minnesota should be hungry to prove a point.

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With a bye week following the contest against the Chicago Bears, it remains sensible for Minnesota to give Jefferson additional time to heal. We have heard the status of his hamstring bounce all over. What was initially feared as a season-threatening issue then trended towards a return when first eligible. Now that we have seen caution be exercised, the coaching staff might as well give it the time allowed by the schedule.

When the Vikings return to the field in Las Vegas on December 10, Justin Jefferson should be there. Until then, let him rest.

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.