Vikings HC Provides Justin Jefferson Update

3 Outlandish
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports.

It lasted for about 45 minutes.

That was the length of Justin Jefferson’s interrupted reunion with the Minnesota Vikings. Jefferson hauled in an off-target pass from quarterback Joshua Dobbs, got smacked by Las Vegas Raiders safety and former Viking Marcus Epps, left the game because of the hit — and went to the hospital.

Vikings HC Provides Justin Jefferson Update

Somehow, Minnesota held on 3-0 — yes, that score is correct — and defeated Las Vegas to climb closer to a postseason berth with a 7-6 record. Here was the hit:

Jefferson finished with 2 receptions for 27 yards, while his team’s defense shut the door entirely on Raiders’ passer Aidan O’Connell and Las Vegas’ offense. It was one of those kinds of games, survive and advance in nature.

Vikings HC Provides Justin
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports.

After the game, the word from Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell was fairly upbeat. Ever the optimist, O’Connell said about Jefferson’s injury, “It looks like we avoided any significant thing there.”

Before Sunday’s win, Jefferson missed seven games on injured reserve due to a hamstring injury, and Week 14 was slated as his triumphant return. The league’s reigning Offensive Player of the Year was indeed back, but the immediate ailment to another part of the body was unfortunate.

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

ESPN’s Kevin Seifert also provided more context on the X app, “Justin Jefferson has returned from the hospital and will travel back to MIN with the Vikings. ‘Chest internal injury’ is what Kevin O’Connell called it. ‘Feel pretty encouraged’ about the early news, he said. Vikings have a short week heading into Saturday’s game at CIN.”

Without Jefferson from Weeks 6 through 13, Minnesota banked five wins to just two losses, a season-saving swing that has sideways positioned the Vikings to enter the postseason as a wildcard participant. As of Sunday evening, Minnesota has a 56% probability of making the playoffs, according to the New York Timesplayoff simulator.

Vikings Make Final Call
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The Vikings’ coaching staff proceeded with extreme caution during Jefferson’s first injury stint this season, and there’s no reason to believe this time will be different. More information on his status will emerge early in the week, but if Minnesota was ginger last month with Jefferson, all signs point to the same treatment this go-round.

En route to the 3-0 victory, O’Connell’s team struggled mightily on offense — perhaps some of the most futile passing game antics in decades for the purple team — and benched the aforementioned Dobbs late in the game. The original QB2 from the start of the season, Nick Mullens, took over and instantly generated momentum. His drive led to a game-winning field goal and a probably QB1 assignment at the Bengals on Saturday.

Minnesota Vikings Head Coach Kevin O’Connell addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center on Wednesday, December 6th, 2023. The Vikings had a quarterback debate off the bye week in 2023, and O’Connell announced incumbent starter Joshua Dobbs would play in Week 14 at the Las Vegas Raiders.

Sans any Jefferson clarity for Week 15, Cincinnati is an early four-point favorite to knock off the Vikings.

Minnesota hasn’t won at Cincinnati since 1992, losing four straight in The Queen City.

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).

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