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Minnesota Vikings superstar wide receiver Justin Jefferson reportedly won’t return from his hamstring injury for Week 10 against the New Orleans Saints, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler first reported Jefferson was “unlikely” to return in Week 10 despite the Vikings opening his 21-day practice window this week.
Jefferson, who was placed on injured reserve and missed the past four games with a hamstring injury, was eligible to return this week and is listed as questionable, but he’s now in line to miss a fifth consecutive contest.
Although playing in Week 10 has been ruled out, a source told Fowler that Jefferson returning in Week 11 against the Denver Broncos is “a possibility.”
Despite Jefferson’s status as arguably the top wideout in the NFL, the Vikings have gone 4-0 during his absence, improving their record from 1-4 to 5-4 in the process.
While Jefferson has been out, the Vikings lost quarterback Kirk Cousins for the season with a torn Achilles, which prompted them to acquire journeyman signal-caller Joshua Dobbs from the Arizona Cardinals.
Rookie Jaren Hall started last week against the Atlanta Falcons, but when he exited due to a concussion, Dobbs replaced him and led Minnesota to a come-from-behind victory.
As a result, the Vikes have a ton of momentum on their side entering Week 10, and they have a chance to enter their Week 12 bye on a six-game winning streak if they can beat the Saints and Broncos over the next two weeks.
Whenever the 24-year-old Jefferson returns, it will provide a massive boost to the Vikings offense, as he is the reigning NFL Offensive Player of the Year.
Jefferson recorded at least 1,400 receiving yards in each of his first three NFL seasons, including a career-high 128 receptions for 1,809 yards, plus eight touchdowns last season.
Prior to getting injured this season, Jefferson was putting up huge numbers once again, racking up 36 grabs for 571 yards and three touchdowns in five games.
The three-time Pro Bowler and one-time first-team All-Pro will immediately take back his spot as the No. 1 option in the Minnesota passing game when he returns, but until then, rookie wide receiver Jordan Addison and star tight end T.J. Hockenson will continue to be the go-to targets.