Vikings Provide Vague Update on Justin Jefferson’s Status

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When Justin Jefferson was placed on injured reserve after the Week 5 loss against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Vikings had a 1-4 record, and it looked a lot like a lost season. Losing one of the best players in the league and having a disastrous start to the season is a death sentence for most teams, but the 2023 Vikings are different. Exceeding expectations is something they enjoy.

Vikings Provide Vague Update on Justin Jefferson’s Status

Taking on adversity and making the best of any situation is a quality Kevin O’Connell brought to the franchise as previous teams couldn’t do that, at least not since 2017 when Sam Bradford and Dalvin Cook got hurt.

Vikings Provide Vague Update on Justin Jefferson's Status
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Some media pundits voiced the possibility that Jefferson might not return from IR this season because of the bad record. His comeback would hurt the draft position. After four consecutive wins, the reigning Offensive Player of the Year certainly has different plans. He is eligible to come off IR this week. The Vikings can open his 21-day practice window and activate him as early as they want, as Jefferson has already missed the mandatory four games. O’Connell was asked on Monday if he expects Jefferson back:

We’re working through that. Justin has done a phenomenal job in his rehab. He has still been a part of meetings, he’s mentally in it, we’ll see. I give you guys an update on Wednesday as far as where he’s at. We’re still working through that and it’s possible we will open up his window on Wednesday but we’re gonna do what’s best for Justin and make sure that we’re doing everything responsibly to make sure that when Justin does return, he can be the Justin Jefferson we all know and all expect out there. I just credit him for how he’s worked through it and through this whole process.

Kevin O’Connell
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The head coach has perfected his coach speak. He talks a lot without committing either way. Noteworthy is that the Vikings want to be cautious with their superstar, and it doesn’t sound like he’ll be back at practice or on the field if there is an increased risk of re-injury, a common problem with muscle injuries.

Jefferson’s return would be a nice boost for morale, but it is also essential for the on-field product. Nobody has ever been as productive in terms of receiving yards through the first three seasons of a player’s career, and nobody has ever produced more yards before turning 24 years old.

The former LSU standout has been absolutely phenomenal in his three-and-a-half seasons with the Vikings, and he would be a great addition for new starting quarterback Joshua Dobbs. An elite receiver is a passer’s best friend as he is mostly open, and when he’s not, he could still throw in his direction and bet on his guy to make the play.

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K.J. Osborn exited Sunday’s game in Atlanta after a scary hit and is in the concussion protocol, putting his availability for Week 10 in doubt. Besides rookie sensation Jordan Addison, it was Brandon Powell and Trishton Jackson at wide receiver, and while they did well, there is a reason why their career numbers combined look like a normal four-week stretch from Jefferson.

Starting them both is less than ideal. Although they had a decent day, there is a difference between having them as complimentary players and relying on them.

Jefferson was the go-to guy in last year’s victory against the Saints, catching ten passes for 147 yards, in addition to scoring a rushing touchdown. In the five games this year, Jefferson logged 36 grabs for 571 yards and three scores.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt