Justin Jefferson Update Sounds More Optimistic

Justin Jefferson
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The Minnesota Vikings invite the Chicago Bears to U.S. Bank Stadium on Monday night, the second matchup between the two clubs of 2023.

Minnesota handled business during the first meeting, downing the Bears at Soldier Field in a 19-13 slopfest.

Justin Jefferson Update Sounds More Optimistic

And in the first contest, the Vikings had just embarked on life without Justin Jefferson for the first time since 2019, finding ways to make the offense purr without the best player. Fast forward six weeks and Vikings fans wonder if Jefferson will be a part of this Vikings-Bears tryst.

Update Sounds More
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Now, thanks to Jefferson’s words on Black Friday, his recovery update is more optimistic than a few days ago. Generally speaking, it’s probably still a longshot for Jefferson to see the field on Monday Night Football, but the phenom playmaker cracked the door open right before the weekend.

“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,” the 24-year-old told reporters.

Purple Rumor Mill: Mattison's Role, Jefferson as OPOY, Cousins' Odd Dynamic
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Earlier this week, Vikings skipper Kevin O’Connell sounded intrigued by the idea of Minnesota’s upcoming bye week. If the club can get over the Bears hump with a win sans Jefferson, he’d have a full extra week to heal and be ready for Week 14 at the Las Vegas Raiders. But Jefferson’s “If I’m feeling good, I will play” adds more positivity to the seesaw.

O’Connell and Jefferson have aligned for weeks regarding his recovery, insisting that Jefferson will acclimate back to action gradually and on the player’s desired timetable. Jefferson said heading into a Week 1 game at the Denver Broncos about the decision-making process concerning his return-to-action date, “I’m the main person that’s going to make the decision at the end of the day. I’m the person that’s going out there running. I’m the person that’s going out there and putting my body on the line to win games and do things for this organization. I know how I feel. I know how my hamstring is feeling.”

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If Jefferson does not play — the point spread of only three in favor of the Vikings suggests he will not — Minnesota will lean on pass-catchers Jordan Addison, T.J. Hockenson, K.J. Osborn, and Brandon Powell, among others, for a seventh consecutive game. Somehow, Minnesota is 5-1 without Jefferson, and in fact, the team curiously became better the moment Jefferson fell injured with the hamstring ailment.

Of course, such luck cannot persist, losing a Top 5 NFL player and merely hoping for a near-flawless win-loss mark, so the offense should hit new heights upon Jefferson’s return. A few weeks after his injury, Jefferson’s teammate, Kirk Cousins, was lost for the year to a torn Achilles, and Joshua Dobbs joined the organization via trade. Soon, folks will see how the Dobbs-Jefferson duo translates to Sundays — or Mondays.

Salary Cap
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The Bears have not defeated 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.