Vikings star Justin Jefferson left Sunday’s game against the Chiefs in the fourth quarter with a hamstring injury and did not return. After uncertainty about the severity of the injury and how long he’ll be out, we now know — Minnesota plans to place the star WR on injured reserve. NFL Media And confirmed by CBS Sports’ lead NFL insider Jonathan Jones.
The exact timeframe is TBD based on how long it takes for Jefferson to recover and how he responds to treatment. But he was out for at least four games in a crushing blow to the Vikings.
Jefferson tripped on the US Bank Stadium turf while running a route against Chiefs cornerback Trent McDuffie late in Kansas City’s Week 5 27-20 win. His return was ruled questionable and he was sidelined after being paralyzed for medical attention. But he didn’t take another snap before the final buzzer, when freshman Jordan Addison served as the target for Kirk Cousins’ top pass.
Head coach Kevin O’Connell visited Jefferson’s locker on his way to the podium after the game to try to comfort the wideout, who did not speak to reporters. On Monday, O’Connell told reporters that Jefferson would seek multiple medical opinions about his hamstring.
“We need to get an MRI on it, find out what it is, where it is, if there are any other factors and determine what the best decision is to get him back to 100 percent as quickly as possible,” O’Connell said. “He’s down today. He’s one of the most intense competitors I’ve ever met, and shoot, he’s trying to get back into the game like he was yesterday. So we have to make a good decision medically. And help him protect himself a little bit.”
From Dan Schneier, CBS Sports Fantasy Senior Editor: With Jefferson gone, most fantasy football managers will turn their attention to new first-round draft pick Jordan Addison as the next man up. While it’s an opportunity Addison needs, he’s currently more likely to be on the roster than KJ Osborne, who would really like to have an edge over the rookie when it comes to future route participation, snap share and a built-in relationship with the quarterback. Kirk Cousins.
As host Adam Eiser noted on the Fantasy Football Today podcast earlier this week, Osborne has scored at least 14.6 PPR points with at least seven targets in eight of 11 games, averaging 16.1 points in those 11 games. However, in 48 total games with the Vikings, Osborne averaged just 5.5 targets per game — including four games played by former Vikings WR Adam Thielen. Jefferson is averaging 11.75 targets in his four games this year, but he was a WR3 when Jefferson was out.
Entering Week 5, Osborne was last (69th among 69 wide receivers) in passing yards, minus coverages broken, at 0.69 yards per route. For Addison, the new entrant’s stock is likely to grow from a Snapshare standpoint, and assuming she can do more with her ways than Osborne, her rapport with Cousins will develop rapidly. Addison’s upside drops him into borderline WR2/3 range. Finally, TJ Hockenson is ready to jump in on goals as well. Hockenson has averaged six goals per game this season – and that number could rise to 25-50% per game. He’s already an every-week starter at TE, but in Jefferson’s absence, Hockenson has a chance to be a weekly difference maker.
Need help replacing Jefferson in your fantasy lineup? checkFor possible options.