Minneapolis, Minnesota – The Minnesota Vikings are grappling with the status of their star receiver, Justin Jefferson, following his premature exit during Sunday’s 27-20 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs due to a hamstring injury.
Jefferson, a pivotal component of the Vikings’ offense, was forced to leave the game in the fourth quarter. According to Minnesota’s head coach, Kevin O’Connell, Jefferson expressed a desire to return to the field, but the team made the decision to keep him sidelined, prioritizing his long-term well-being.
“Although he was determined to find a way back on the field, it was unlikely,” O’Connell commented on Monday.
The injury occurred when Jefferson lost his footing on the turf while making a sharp cut during a crucial third-down play deep in Kansas City territory. Wincing in pain, he limped slowly to the sideline, clutching the back of his right leg.
O’Connell disclosed that the team is seeking “a couple of different opinions” regarding the severity of Jefferson’s injury. He emphasized the need for a cautious medical approach to ensure the receiver’s full recovery.
Jefferson, who had been watching the remainder of the game from the sidelines with a towel covering his head, was the NFL leader in receptions and receiving yards last season, earning recognition as the AP Offensive Player of the Year.
In the current season, the All-Pro receiver had amassed 36 receptions for 571 yards and three touchdowns across five games. Remarkably, he had never missed a game in his career until this injury setback.
With Jefferson sidelined, the Vikings will need to rely more heavily on rookie receiver Jordan Addison and fourth-year receiver K.J. Osborn, in addition to tight end T.J. Hockenson.
Addison, selected as the 23rd overall pick in this year’s draft from USC, demonstrated his capabilities by scoring his third touchdown of the season during Sunday’s game. The 21-year-old has recorded 19 catches for 249 yards in his first five NFL games. Osborn, who had been playing alongside Jefferson, has contributed 13 receptions for 166 yards and two touchdowns this season.
“I have full confidence in that group,” O’Connell affirmed. “Now, it’s a matter of how (Addison), K.J., and the rest of our receiving corps, along with our tight ends and (C.J. Ham) as a fullback, can continue to step up in the absence of Justin, who had been the focal point of our passing game due to the attention he drew from opposing defenses.”