Vikings face Bears at Soldier Field in first game without Justin Jefferson

Justin Jefferson #18 of the Minnesota Vikings attempts to catch a pass during the second quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs at U.S. Bank Stadium on October 08, 2023 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  ((Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images))

The Minnesota Vikings are at Soldier Field to take on the Chicago Bears Sunday in their first NFC North Division game of the season, a game you can watch on FOX 9.

The Vikings are looking to snap out of a 1-4 skid to start the season, and will have to do so without their top offensive weapon. Justin Jefferson was placed on injured reserve earlier this week with a hamstring injury suffered in the fourth quarter of last week’s 27-20 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Jefferson will miss at least four games, but as ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported earlier this week, it could very likely be more if the Vikings continue to lose and drop out of the NFC Playoff picture. He’s projected to be out four to six weeks, but would have less incentive to return to a non-playoff team as he also seeks a new contract that couldn’t be worked out in the offseason.

Sunday marks the first game Jefferson has ever missed due to injury in his football career.

Also inactive for the Vikings Sunday are Lewis Cine, Nick Muse, Andre Carter II, Hakeem Adeniji and Jaquelin Roy. Cine did not carry an injury designation on Friday, so the 2022 first round pick is a healthy scratch for the first time in his career.

Reports also emerged Saturday that despite potential trade rumors around Kirk Cousins, he’s likely staying in Minnesota this season. Cousins has a full no-trade clause in his contract, and would have to agree to waive it to be dealt to a potential playoff team needing a quarterback. There is little incentive for him to do so, as he’s set to become an unrestricted free agent next March.

Cousins is currently third in the NFL with 1,498 passing yards, and leads the league with 13 touchdowns. With Jefferson out, more targets will go to rookie first round pick Jordan Addison, T.J. Hockenson and K.J. Osborn among others.

The Vikings could either try to bring Cousins back in 2024, or look for their next quarterback in next April’s NFL Draft. The NFL trade deadline is Oct. 31.

With Sunday's game being the battle of two 1-4 teams, the loser will be in last place in the NFC North.