The Minnesota Vikings will be without superstar wide receiver Justin Jefferson for at least one more week. The team did not activate him from injured reserve on Saturday, which means he will not play in Sunday night’s game against the Denver Broncos.
Jefferson has been sidelined for more than a month and has not yet returned to practice due to a hamstring injury. Thus far, he has been adamant that he will not return until his injury is 100 percent healed. He has not even started to practice yet.
Jefferson is one of the NFL’s best wide receivers and was the league’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2022. He led the league with 128 catches and 1,809 receiving yards, while also catching eight touchdowns.
In five games this season he caught 36 passes for 571 yards and three touchdowns before his injury.
In a weird and unexpected twist, the Vikings were only 1-4 in the games that Jefferson played this season. Their season appeared to be going nowhere, and they were seen as one of the most disappointing teams in the league.
But they have gone on a run over the past five weeks, despite also losing starting quarterback Kirk Cousins.
Rookie wide receiver Jordan Addison has been an immediate star, while tight end T.J. Hockenson has also been an impact player. The Vikings have also received an unexpected boost the past two weeks from new quarterback addition Joshua Dobbs.
Minnesota enters Sunday night’s game with a 6-4 record and a strong hold on an NFC Wild Card spot. This is a stunning turnaround from a month ago when it looked like they would be sellers in advance of the NFL trade deadline.
The Bears play the Chicago Bears next week, followed by a bye. It is possible that Jefferson will not return until after that bye week when the Vikings play the Las Vegas Raiders on Dec. 10. Despite their five-game winning streak, the Vikings are still only a small favorite for Sunday night’s game in Denver.