Minnesota Vikings Send Wide Receiver Justin Jefferson to Injured Reserve

Posted on: October 10, 2023, 10:20h. 

Last updated on: October 10, 2023, 11:58h.

Minnesota Vikings All-Pro wide receiver Justin Jefferson is sidelined for at least four weeks with a right hamstring injury.

Vikings Justin Jefferson injury
Kansas City Chiefs safety Mike Edwards breaks up a pass to Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. (Image: Getty)

Jefferson tweaked his hamstring in the fourth quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 5. He caught three passes for 36 yards prior to his injury.

The Chiefs held off the Vikings to win, 27-20, and the Vikings saw their record drop to 1-4.

The Vikings play three of their next four games on the road. They host the San Francisco 49ers on “Monday Night Football” in Week 7, but hit the road to play the Chicago Bears in Week 6, the Green Bay Packers in Week 8, and the Atlanta Falcons in Week 9.

Jefferson will be eligible to return from his hamstring injury in Week 10, when the Vikings host the New Orleans Saints.

Addison, Osborn, Hockenson to Step Up with Jefferson Out

The reliable Jefferson caught 36 passes for 571 yards and three touchdowns this season. He was coming off a season last year in which he caught a career-high 128 receptions for 1,809 yards.

Justin’s done a phenomenal job for the last three-plus years of staying healthy and being out there every week, which is hard to do,” said quarterback Kirk Cousins. “Even with this injury, it makes you pause and be grateful for how healthy he’s been. We’ve got the players to try to try to fill that gap.”

Jefferson didn’t miss a single game in his first three seasons in the NFL. He caught 35 touchdowns in 50 games and tallied at least 1,400 receiving yards in all three seasons.

Tight end T.J. Hockenson made an immediate impact since he joined the Vikings last season in a trade from the Lions. Hockenson is ranked second on the Vikings in receptions (30), targets (39), and yards (254) this season. He has two touchdowns.

Rookie wide receiver Jordan Addison and veteran K.J. Osborn will shoulder a bigger workload in the upcoming weeks. Addison contributed 19 catches for 249 yards and three touchdowns in his first season with the Vikings. Osborn added 13 catches for 166 yards and two touchdowns through five games.

Backup wide receiver Brandon Powell is also expected to see more playing time. Powell played for four different teams in the last four seasons, including the Vikings in 2023. Powell saw action late in the fourth quarter against the Chiefs after Jefferson exited the game. He caught four passes for 43 yards and was targeted six times by Cousins.

Will Kirk Cousins Still Be a Viking?

Cousins targeted Jefferson nearly 12 times a game in the first four games this season. The two have established a strong bond over the last few seasons. But this could be their last season together as teammates.

Cousins is in the final year of his contract and the Vikings have hinted they will let him walk in free agency and pursue other options at quarterback for next season.

The Vikings are expected to miss the playoffs and could have a shot at drafting a good quarterback with the 2024 NFL Draft loaded with quarterback prospects.

Jefferson knew he had to deal with a future without Cousins next season. But there’s a chance that Cousins isn’t even with the Vikings by the time he gets off the IR.

The latest trade rumor swirling around Gotham suggests the New York Jets will seek to acquire Cousins before the NFL trade deadline on Halloween to take over for Aaron Rodgers, who tore his Achilles in the first game of the season.

Backup Zach Wilson played much better in the last two weeks, but the Jets are 2-3 and long shots to make the playoffs. Vocal fans haven’t been shy to let Gang Green know that they’d prefer Cousins over Wilson for the rest of the season.

Fading the 1-4 Vikings

The Vikings won 13 games and a division title last season. They’re currently tied for last place in the NFC North with the Chicago Bears (1-4). The Lions (4-1) have a two-game lead over the Green Bay Packers (2-3) in second place.

The Lions are the consensus favorite to win the NFC North at -475 odds. The Packers are +600 odds to win the NFC North, followed by the Vikings at +1400, and the Bears at +2500. Only the undefeated San Francisco 49ers in the NFC West, at -800 odds, are a bigger favorite than the Lions to win their division at -475.

The Vikings saw their Super Bowl LVIII odds slip to +9000 and their NFC Championship odds drop to +6000 after a 1-4 start.

The Vikings are 1-3-1 against the point spread (ATS) this season. They covered the point spread only once this season with a 21-13 victory over the Carolina Panthers in Week 4 when the Panthers were a +4.5 home underdog. The Vikings pushed as a +6 road dog against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 6. They failed to cover in their other three games.

In Week 6, the Bears are a +2.5 home dog against the Vikings. The total is 45.5 over/under. The Bears are 1-3-1 ATS this season.

In Week 5, the Bears won their first game of the season against the Washington Commanders. The Bears have the benefit of additional rest against the Vikings after playing on “Thursday Night Football” last week. Even with a rest disadvantage, the Vikings are still a -2.5 favorite.

The Vikings have a 4-1 points total record if you’ve been betting the under this season.