It Doesn’t Look Good for Justin Jefferson This Weekend

One Shiny Silver Lining
Oct 16, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Mandatory Credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports.

While Minnesota Vikings phenom wide receiver Justin Jefferson is eligible to return this weekend, it doesn’t seem like that’ll actually happen.

At least not yet.

It Doesn’t Look Good for Justin Jefferson This Weekend

Jefferson injured his hamstring in Week 5 in a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. He hit the shelf for at least four games, and wouldn’t you know it? The Vikings somehow won the next four games without him. What a world.

Look Good for Justin
Oct 1, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) warms up before the game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports.

Vikings fans were optimistic about Jefferson’s as-soon-as-possible return, mainly because the recovery updates from Eagan in the last month have been supremely encouraging. Yet, as the rubber hits the road on his return, all signs point to Jefferson missing his fifth consecutive game. reported Tuesday, “WR Justin Jefferson (hamstring) is unlikely to play this Sunday against the Saints, NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero reported. Jefferson currently is on injured reserve but is eligible to have his 21-day practice window opened.”

A New Wrinkle
Jan 15, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) dives for the end zone as New York Giants cornerback Adoree’ Jackson (22) defends during the first quarter of a wild card game at U.S. Bank Stadium. The call on the field was a touchdown but was changed after review. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Before the injury, Jefferson tabulated 36 receptions for 571 yards and 3 touchdowns in 5 games. The man was on pace for his best season to date, which was obviously hampered by the IR stint.

Too, ESPN’s Adam Schefter mentioned Jefferson’s prognosis before Monday Night Football on November 6th, “We’ll see when Justin Jefferson can get back. Initially, when he hurt the hamstring, it was projected to be a 4-6 week injury. This is four weeks. He’s going to be meeting with doctors. Kevin O’Connell said today they’ll get an update later in the week. It’s still an ongoing process. It doesn’t sound like he’s coming back this week, but it doesn’t sound like he’s far away either.”

Somebody Was Out
Dec 17, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) celebrates the win against the Indianapolis Colts after the game at U.S. Bank Stadium. With the win, the Minnesota Vikings clinched the NFC North. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

In Jefferson’s stead, a group effort involving tight end T.J. Hockenson, plus wide receivers Jordan Addison, K.J. Osborn, Brandon Powell, and Trishton Jackson, have helped keep the offense afloat. Moreover, the club’s defense has become a Top 10 bunch since Jefferson hit IR, an odd coincidence that should bode well when he rejoins the roster.

Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell said on The Pat McAfee Show Monday, “As well as he’s done with his rehab, we still have to be smart and make sure we’re looking out for Justin.”

Sep 14, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell in the tunnel against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports.

Based on all the credible reporting, Vikings fans should circle Week 11 — not this weekend — as Jefferson’s hopeful return date.

The Vikings offense improved without Jefferson — yes, you read that correctly — from 17th per EPA/Play from Weeks 1-5 to 7th in EPA/Play in Weeks 6-9.

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).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by