Vikings officially place Justin Jefferson on IR, sign QB Sean Mannion

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - SEPTEMBER 14: Justin Jefferson #18 of the Minnesota Vikings warms up against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on September 14, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

The Minnesota Vikings made it official on Wednesday that star receiver Justin Jefferson is headed to injured reserve.

Jefferson injured his right hamstring during the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 27-20 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, and did not return. Jefferson will miss at least the next four games, which are Sunday at the Bears, against the San Francisco 49ers, at the Packers and at the Falcons.

Jefferson, a First-Team All-Pro pick last year and the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2022, has 36 catches this year for 571 yards and three touchdowns. He had a goal of chasing down Calvin Johnson’s single-season receiving yards record this year, but that’s now on hold. It’s also a very real possibility Jefferson will be out longer than four games.

If the Vikings continue to struggle and lose games, the incentive for Jefferson to rush back decreases as he also seeks a new contract. 

Here’s a look at the other Vikings’ roster moves made Wednesday:

  • Back-up quarterback Nick Mullens was placed on injured reserve, which means he’s also out the next four games. The Vikings have signed Sean Mannion, who was with the Vikings from 2019-21 as the back-up to Kirk Cousins, to the practice squad.
  • The Vikings signed N’Keal Harry and Trishton Jackson from the practice squad to the active roster.
  • They’ve designated Kene Nwangwu to return from injured reserve. Nwangwu missed most of training camp and has not played this season due to an undisclosed injury.

The Vikings are at the Chicago Bears on Sunday to open NFC North Divisional play and are looking to snap out of an early season skid, having lost four of their first five games.