Vikings host Bears for Monday Night Football, pregame at 5PM on FOX 9

Head coach Kevin O'Connell of the Minnesota Vikings congratulates Joshua Dobbs #15 of the Minnesota Vikings during the second quarter against the New Orleans Saints at U.S. Bank Stadium on November 12, 2023 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  ((Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images))

The Minnesota Vikings host the Chicago Bears for Monday Night Football at U.S. Bank Stadium, and star receiver Justin Jefferson will miss his seventh straight game.

The Vikings have ruled Jefferson out for Monday night's game as he continues to work his way back from a hamstring injury suffered Week 5 against the Kansas City Chiefs. They're taking a cautious approach for Jefferson and giving him an extra week with a bye. The plan is for Jefferson to return Dec. 10 at the Las Vegas Raiders.

He was placed on IR, and the team opened his 21-day practice window on Nov. 8. He would need to be activated by Nov. 29, Wednesday, or his season is over. All expectations are that Jefferson will be able to return after the Vikings’ bye week at Las Vegas. He was listed as questionable for Monday night. Jefferson spoke Saturday from TCO Performance Center about his looming return, and about facing backlash on social media while he recovers from his injury, largely from fantasy football owners who want him back on the field.

Jefferson has been limited in practice since his window opened, and the Vikings want him to fully participate in multiple practices before he returns to a game. He's said himself he wants to be back at 100 percent before he plays again.

Minnesota has managed to go 5-1 without Jefferson on the field, and without Kirk Cousins at quarterback. The Vikings had a five-game win streak snapped last Sunday night in a 21-20 loss at the Denver Broncos after turning the ball over three times, and Russell Wilson throwing the game-winning touchdown pass in the final minute.

Among the notable Vikings' inactives Monday night is defensive back Akayleb Evans, who is dealing with a calf injury. With Evans out, Byron Murphy Jr. likely gets the duty of covering Bears' standout receiver D.J. Moore. Jaren Hall is also inactive, but will serve as the Vikings' emergency quarterback behind Joshua Dobbs and Nick Mullens.

Vikings chasing Lions

With a win Monday night, the Vikings would improve to 7-5, remain unbeaten in the NFC North Division at 3-0 and be just two games behind the Detroit Lions for first place in the division, which seemed impossible after a 1-4 start. The Packers beat the Lions on Thanksgiving, and the Vikings play the Lions in two of their last three games to close out the regular season.

This will mark the Vikings' second appearance on Monday Night Football this season. The Vikings beat the San Francisco 49ers 22-17 back on Oct. 23 at U.S. Bank Stadium.

If NFL playoffs started today

If the playoffs were to start today, the Vikings would be the No. 6 seed, owning one of the Wild Card spots, and would be heading west to face the 49ers. The Vikings will do everything they can to pass the Lions for the NFC North title, which would guarantee a home playoff game.

The Vikings have two more home games left after Monday night’s clash with the Bears.