Justin Jefferson’s MNF Status Revealed

The Justin Jefferson Injury
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It appears the absence will reach seven games.

That’s the late word Sunday from ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler regarding Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson, who has been on the shelf with a hamstring injury since Week 6.

Justin Jefferson’s MNF Status Revealed

Minnesota hosts the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football, and Jefferson has remained questionable all week and weekend. But as kickoff nears, it seems the Vikings will err on the side of caution with their best player.

mnf status
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Fowler tweeted Sunday evening, “Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (questionable, hamstring) is not expected to play Monday night vs. Bears, per source. Vikings will give him the bye week – and he’ll be a big part of the team’s playoff push over the final five games.”

Jefferson was listed as questionable last week, too, for a game at the Denver Broncos, but most fans knew it was an extreme longshot for him to play. Then the game rolled around, Jefferson, in fact, did not play, and Minnesota lost by one point.

How Will the Bears Handle
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This week, however, a bit more optimism existed about Jefferson’s odds to play. He personally sounded enthusiastic, at least to an extent, on Friday. “If I miss this one, it’s going to be the seventh game, so it’s definitely frustrating, and it’s tough to be patient and try to make sure that an injury heals properly. It’s definitely not something I want to do, but it comes with the game, it comes with trying to be healthy, trying to be 100% and the safe route,” Jefferson told reporters.

The Vikings weirdly didn’t miss Jefferson during the first five games, winning five straight versus NFC foes, an odd occurrence because Jefferson is irreplaceable. But the enterprise came to earth last Sunday night at Denver, and Jefferson’s production was sorely missed in the 4th Quarter.

Only Week 6
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Jefferson added Friday, “I’m not sure. We’ll see. We still have more days to practice and really evaluate everything. We’re going to weigh the options correctly, making sure that I’m feeling well and prepared to play a game, and if I’m feeling good, I will play.”

Unlike last week, the Vikings are favored to win against the Bears, whereas an underdog status followed them into Denver. Minnesota was a three-point road underdog in Week 11 and is a three-point home favorite in Week 12.

Turnover Woes
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Minnesota’s strategy is straightforward: allow Jefferson to return only at 100% health. Otherwise, he’d risk re-injury, and if he rushed it back versus the Bears and tweaked the hamstring, that might be a wrap on his 2023 campaign. The Vikings have a bye in Week 13, so if they can knock off the Bears without Jefferson, letting him rest for a full extra week could ensure complete confidence in his recovery.

The Bears haven’t beaten the Vikings since December of 2020.

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 OverTheCap.com.