Well, He’s Back.
Without him, the club finished with a 5-2 record, an unexpected outcome for almost everybody.
But now he’s back, and Justin Jefferson will return when the Minnesota Vikings need him the most — to effectuate a playoff push that seemed laughable when he left due to injury.
Well, He’s Back.
The Vikings’ social media team tweeted Tuesday morning, one day after the club fell at home to the Chicago Bears, “WR Justin Jefferson will be activated from injured reserve today.”
So, the return and reunion is imminent, just a 12-day countdown. Minnesota will travel to Las Vegas for Jefferson’s return, a date with the Raiders.
“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 last week.
Jefferson and the Vikings have proceeded patiently every step of the way regarding his recovery, only wanting him back on the field when 100% health is achieved. And for a while, Minnesota could not lose a game, firing off wins without Jefferson against the Chicago Bears, San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers, Atlanta Falcons, and New Orleans Saints. The team could do no wrong, even when quarterback Kirk Cousins was lost for the season to a torn Achilles in Week 8.
But then the bottom fell out.
The Vikings lost to the Denver Broncos in Week 11, and Jefferson’s absence was sorely felt, especially on a would-be game-winning drive led by Joshua Dobbs. Minnesota could do nothing on the drive and lost by a point accordingly. Later, on Monday Night Football, the Vikings couldn’t beat the Bears. Chicago refused to score a touchdown and still topped Minnesota with field goals by a score of 12-10.
The team lives on the edge of the NFC’s playoff picture with a 6-6 record and desperately needs Jefferson’s theatrics to kick the offense into gear.
Jefferson also mentioned 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.”
The Vikings ranked 14th per offensive EPA/Play without Jefferson in the last seven games.
Minnesota also has a budding quarterback controversy, as head coach Kevin O’Connell would not name a starter for Week 14, which is Jefferson’s return date. The reigning Offensive Player of the Year could catch passes from Joshua Dobbs, Nick Mullens, or Jaren Hall. We shall see.
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).