The Justin Jefferson Injury Update Is Bittersweet

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The good news regarding Minnesota Vikings wideout Justin Jefferson? He’s considered day-to-day recovering from a hamstring injury that has sidelined him since Week 6.

The bad news? He likely won’t play this weekend against the New Orleans Saints.

The Justin Jefferson Injury Update Is Bittersweet

“It’s a day-to-day. You can’t really put a date on it at this very moment,” Jefferson told reporters Thursday.

Jefferson Injury Update
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The Saints employ one of the NFL’s best secondaries, so if Jefferson cannot play this weekend — he probably won’t — the Vikings will need creative non-Jefferson solutions, as they’ve concocted for four consecutive games.

Jefferson continued, “The training staff has been doing a phenomenal job with me. Making sure I’m feeling good. Making sure I’m getting the work that I need done, and the rehab and the treatment that I need.”

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Minnesota lost Jefferson to a hamstring ailment in a Week 5 loss at home to the Kansas City Chiefs. Since then, and rather inexplicably sans the phenom playmaker, the Vikings have rattled off four wins and entered the NFC’s evolving playoff picture.

“It’s all about how I’m feeling and how strong the hamstring is. Hamstring is difficult injury because it lingers. It comes back from time to time if you don’t put the right treatment into it. The guys and the rest of the coaching staff in this building know my worth on the field. They want me 100 percent. As I do as well,” Jefferson elaborated.

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Ordinarily, the Vikings offense would retreat in its shell like a turtle without Jefferson, but this situation is markedly different with Kevin O’Connell in charge. When Jefferson played in the first five games, Minnesota’s offense ranked 17th per EPA/Play. Without him, from Weeks 6-9, Minnesota’s offense has checked in at seventh per the same metric. It’s bonkers.

O’Connell said Wednesday that it would be “aggressive” to think Jefferson would play versus the Saints.

Jefferson concluded, “I don’t want to go out there 80, 90 percent and have the chance of hurting it again. It’s day to day, like I said, and when that time comes, I’ll definitely be ready to step out on that field.”

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The Vikings will continue to lean on pass-catchers Jordan Addison, Brandon Powell, Trishton Jackson, and perhaps Jalen Nailor if Jefferson does not play on Sunday. Tight end T.J. Hockenson and wide receiver K.J. Osborn are also on this week’s injury report, too, but both practiced in a limited capacity on Thursday.

Minnesota is 4-2 (.666) against the Saints since the start of 2017.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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