MINNEAPOLIS – Minnesota Vikings star wide receiver Justin Jefferson was forced out of the game against the Kansas City Chiefs in the fourth quarter due to a right hamstring injury and the team isn’t sure when he’ll return.
Jefferson slipped on the turf while trying to make a cut on his route during a third-down pass deep in Kansas City territory and limped slowly to the sideline after grabbing the back of his right leg. The Vikings scored a touchdown two plays later, but ended up losing 27-20 to fall to 1-4 this season.
“Still very early,” coach Kevin O’Connell said after the game. “See where he’s at as we move along here and diagnose exactly what that injury is, and what that timeline looks like.”
The Vikings have a road game next Sunday against the Bears in Chicago.
Jefferson was announced as questionable to return, but he watched the remainder of the game from the sideline with a towel draped over his head. The All-Pro who led the NFL in receptions and yards last season has never missed a game in his career.
“Justin’s done a phenomenal job for the last 3 1/2 years of staying healthy and being out there every week, which is hard to do,” quarterback Kirk Cousins said. “So, even with this injury, it makes you pause and be grateful for how healthy he’s been. … I think we’ve got the players to try to try to fill that gap.
“It’s big shoes to fill but as a group, I think it can be done.”
With Minnesota trying to drive to tie it in the fourth quarter, Cousins started a late drive without his top two targets in Jefferson and tight end T.J. Hockenson.
Hockenson later returned from an apparent injury, but Cousins was left with rookie Jordan Addison, K.J. Osborn, Brandon Powell and practice squad call-up N’Keal Harry at receiver late in the game.
Addison, the 23rd overall draft pick this year out of USC, scored his third touchdown of the season in the second quarter on Sunday. He had a team-high six catches and 64 yards receiving on Sunday and has 19 catches on 29 targets this season for 249 yards.
“Once I had heard he went down, I’m like, ‘OK, so this is my time where I can step up and show everybody in this stadium that I’m that guy, too,’” Addison said, later adding: “So with the receiver room we’ve got, I’m pretty sure that all our guys are starting to think like that right now. So, it’s going to be a hell of a week of practice. I know we’ll all going to come back ready to work knowing Jet’s situation.”
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