MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - The Minnesota Vikings are waiting at least one more week for Justin Jefferson’s official return to the football field.
According to ESPN and NFL Network reports, the Vikings will not active Jefferson from injured reserve before Sunday Night Football at the Denver Broncos. Jefferson has missed five straight games with a hamstring injury suffered Week 5 against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Vikings announced on Saturday they've downgraded him to out.
The Vikings have managed to go 5-0 in his absence and get to 6-4 after an 0-3 start. That’s also with Joshua Dobbs at quarterback, after Kirk Cousins went down for the season with a torn right Achilles.
The Vikings opened Jefferson’s practice window two weeks ago, and he was a limited participant throughout this week. The team likely wants him to be a full participant multiple times before activating him from IR. Jefferson told reporters this week it will ultimately be his decision, with the help of coaches and trainers, on when he returns.
"I want to be on that field more than anything," Jefferson said Thursday.
After Denver, the Vikings host the Chicago Bears for Monday Night Football at U.S. Bank Stadium Nov. 27. That’s the most likely date for his return, and the Vikings go on their bye week after that game.
The Vikings are, however, elevating Anthony Barr from the practice squad after signing him earlier this week. Jordan Hicks went on IR and will miss at least four weeks after having a procedure for "compartment syndrome" after suffering a shin injury. Ivan Pace Jr. will take the green dot duties from Hicks, and Barr will likely see his first game action since playing for the Dallas Cowboys last season.
Barr was a first round pick by the Vikings in 2014, and played his first eight seasons in Minnesota.
The Vikings also put Nick Mullens back on the active roster after was on IR with a back injury. He'll be the No. 2 quarterback Sunday behind Dobbs, with Jaren Hall out. He did not practice on Friday and is still in the concussion protocol.