On Tuesday, October 10th, 2023 the Minnesota Vikings announced that their young superstar wide receiver, Justin Jefferson, has been placed on the National Football League’s injured reserve list with a somewhat serious right hamstring injury.
The spectacular wide out of the Minnesota Vikings in Jefferson will now have to miss a minimum of at least the next four games due to his him being put on the NFL’s injured reserve list.
He strained his right hamstring last Sunday during the Minnesota Vikings’ 27 to 20 loss to the defending Super Bowl champions in the Kansas City Chiefs. This is by far the most devastating setback in what has been a disastrous start to the Minnesota Vikings’ 2023 – 2024 NFL regular – season.
The Minnesota Vikings ultimately decided to place Justin on injured reserve list in order to ensure that he absolutely does not return to the playing field too prematurely which could cause him to suffer any additional setbacks. The earliest that Jefferson may be activated is presently an
NFL week – 10 game versus the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, November 12th, 2023.
The Minnesota Vikings will make an important decision around that point whether Jefferson is ready to resume playing at NFL game speed, or if he will need more time to recover from this nagging right hamstring injury that he has been dealing with lately.
“We are going to have to medically make a good decision and help almost protect him from himself a little bit in a way where we’ve got to take care of him and get him back to 100 percent,” the Minnesota Vikings head coach, Kevin O’Connell, explained.
Justin Jefferson’s Impact on the Game:
Losing Justin who was the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year Award winner back in 2022, will further weaken an already poor – playing Minnesota Vikings team so far this year that has started the 2023 – 2024 NFL regular – season with an overall record of 1 and 4, and who has three of their next upcoming four games to be played on the road. The Minnesota Vikings only home game over that treacherous stretch is versus the currently undefeated San Francisco 49ers who look like the most dominant team in the National Football League thus far this season.
It seems as if the Minnesota Vikings offense is pretty much run entirely through J. J. as coach O’Connell acknowledged that fact last Monday, October 9th, 2023, and they might need to reinvent their offensive play schemes moving forward especially as they enter a difficult part of the year without their best all – around football player. Entering week – 5 of the National Football League, Justin was ranking in 1st – place in the NFL in receiving yards with 543, and Jefferson was tied for 2nd – place in catches with 33 as well as in 3rd – place in targets with 47 just prior to the 5th – week of the 2023 – 2024 NFL season.
Replacing Jefferson as Wide Receiver:
The Minnesota Vikings’ rookie wide receiver in Jordan Addison should definitely see more targets at least over the upcoming 4 – weeks of NFL game action. Addison along with their veteran wide outs in K. J. Osborn as well as Brandon Powell should expect more important and impactful playing time for the Minnesota Vikings now that Jefferson will be sidelined for a while.
The Minnesota Vikings will also have to adjust to the NFL defenses that will most likely feel coerced to use the double – teams and other exotic pass – coverages that Jefferson routinely would receive from the Minnesota Vikings opposing defenses.
Speaking last Monday, coach O’Connell mentioned that if Jefferson missed any time, the Minnesota Vikings would find out on, “whether people decide to play us a little more straight up or true, how we run it maybe against some looks that, quite frankly, we don’t get a whole lot.”
Jefferson has managed to never miss a contest in the National Football League since he began playing pro ball, and he had started 53 – consecutive games since week – 3 of his NFL rookie season back in the year of 2020. Justin rarely has even been forced to leave the gridiron while the Minnesota Vikings have possessed the football as he has played a total of 92 % of the Minnesota Vikings’ offensive snaps over that long period of high intensity match – ups.
“Justin has done a phenomenal job for the last 3 ½ years of staying healthy and being healthy every week, which is hard to do,” the Minnesota Vikings veteran star quarterback, Kirk Cousins, expressed last weekend. “Even with this injury, it makes you pause and be grateful for how healthy he has been.”
The Minnesota Vikings negotiated for months during the past 2023 NFL offseason in order to sign their superstar wide receiver in Jefferson to a decent contract extension, but both sides were unable to find common ground and had to eventually break off their negotiations during September of 2023. Justin is now scheduled to receive a $2.4 million base salary for his work during the 2023 – 2024 NFL season, and he is expected to earn $19.7 million for the 2024 – 2025 NFL season under the terms of his 5th – year option if there is no contract extension granted before that point.
Jefferson’s hamstring injury could have a lasting impact upon the Minnesota Vikings decision – making for the remainder of the year. Three – prominent veterans in Cousins, Osborn, and their linebacker Danielle Hunter are all playing with contracts that will expire after the current 2023 – 2024 NFL season. The NFL trade deadline is Oct. 31. Cousins has a full no-trade clause that he would have to waive if the Vikings wanted to move him.
Jefferson’s Football Career Achievements, Honors, & Awards:
- NFL Offensive Player of the Year Award Winner (2022)
- First – Team NFL All – Pro Selection (2022)
- 2 – Time Second – Team NFL All – Pro Selection (2020, 2021)
- 3 – Time NFL Pro Bowl Selection (2020, 2022)
- NFL Receptions Leader (2022)
- NFL Receiving Yards Leader (2022)
- PFWA All – Rookie Team (2020)
- College Football Playoff National Champion (2019)
- Second – Team All – SEC Selection (2019)
- Most Receiving Yards per Game in NFL Career with 98.1