Report: Brutal News on Justin Jefferson’s Health
Well, this likely isn’t the news you were hoping to read on Tuesday morning.
According to The NFL Network‘s Tom Pelissero, Justin Jefferson is going on the IR. As a result, the league’s WR1 is going to miss at least four games: “The #Vikings plan to place WR Justin Jefferson on injured reserve because of the hamstring injury he suffered in Sunday’s loss to Kansas City, per sources. The exact timeline is TBD based on how he responds to treatment. But Jefferson is out at least four games.”
Given how the season has gone, losing Jefferson could very well function as the humongous straw that broke the camel’s back.
Justin Jefferson is Going to the IR
Jefferson began the season with unbelievable production. He started the year with 150, 159, and 149 receiving yards. His Week 4 output — 85 yards — was sweetened by him scoring a pair of TDs.
Before getting hurt, Jefferson was having a modest game against KC. Clearly, Steve Spagnuolo was telling his players to make things difficult for #18 (what defensive coordinator doesn’t?), but they crossed the line several times by committing a DPI, holding, hands to the face, and unnecessary roughness all in the same drive against him.
So, even when he’s not producing he’s helping his team move down the field.
In the 4th quarter, Jefferson had to leave the game due to his hamstring injury. ESPN’s Kevin Seifert has a video of the play.
On Monday, Kevin O’Connell didn’t 100% confirm whether his best player was going to need to miss a ton of time. Take a look at what he had to say:
I think there will probably be a couple different opinions on it, but we have to get the MRI of it and take a look and find out exactly what it is, where it is, if there’s any other factors that go into it and determine what the best decision for him to get him back to 100% as fast as possible but he’s down today. He obviously is one of the most ultra-competitors that I’ve ever met, and shoot, he was trying to go back in the game as it was yesterday, so we’re going to have to medically make a good decision and help almost protect him from himself a little bit in a way where we have to take care of him and get him back to 100%
Whatever was learned from the medical evaluations pushed Minnesota toward playing it safe with their most important player. The fourth-year WR will now have roughly a month to get back to full health. Ideally, he’ll be ready to roll after the four games, but his long-term health is the ultimate goal. In other words, Jefferson needs to be given all the time he needs.
Already with four losses, the Vikings’ steep ascent toward a playoff berth not appears even more daunting. It’s as if the journey up the narrow, rocky pathway now involves a weary traveller carrying a bag of bricks on his back. Minnesota stumbled to a 1-4 record with Justin Jefferson putting together elite games; how are things going to look without him?
Already, there are calls for a major selloff. On PurplePTSD, there’s a piece about how Danielle Hunter makes a ton of sense for the 49ers. Film specialist Brett Kollmann advocated for Kwesi Adofo-Mensah to sell: “The Vikings are 1-4. Their only win is against arguably the worst team in the NFL. Justin Jefferson is going on IR. Kirk is a free agent after this year. If there was ever time for a fire sale in Minnesota, it’s right now.”
Very soon, we’ll learn if Minnesota’s GM agrees. The man isn’t shy about pulling off traders, completing 17 since taking over.
The team’s stubborn refusal to win games alongside the fresh news about Jefferson’s trip to the IR will put forth some added urgency to sell strong veterans in the hope of competing in the future.
Editor’s Note: Information from Pro Football Reference helped with this piece.
K. Joudry is the Senior Editor for Vikings Territory and PurplePTSD. He has been covering the Vikings full time since the summer of 2021. He can be found on Twitter and as a co-host for Notes from the North, a humble Vikings podcast.