Vikings WR Justin Jefferson says he’s playing at Cincinnati after chest injury

Justin Jefferson watched on his phone from an ambulance and eventually a Las Vegas hospital emergency room as the Minnesota Vikings got a late field goal to beat the Raiders 3-0.

Midway through the second quarter, Jefferson made a 15-yard catch over the middle, then got rocked by former teammate Marcus Epps. He left the field grabbing his right lower back and hip area, but it didn’t take long for trainers to want to know if something serious might be happening.

It was his second catch on his third target of the day, and Jefferson had to go back to the locker room with what the team called a chest injury. The Vikings didn’t want to take any chances, so they sent him in an ambulance to a hospital for further evaluation. After being out nearly two months with a hamstring injury, he was again injured.

"I definitely broke down a little bit when they told me I wasn’t going to be able to go back into the game. This season has been tough for me, just with the hamstring injury and now this," Jefferson said Wednesday at TCO Performance Center. "It was internal, we had to look for internal bleeding. Had to look for broken ribs, had to look for a whole bunch of different things that on the field, we could not know. Pretty much like an inner bruise."

He left for the hospital before the end of the first half, but was able to get back to Allegiant Stadium in time to fly home with the team. He said there were a few hospital staff and patients that knew who he was, and watched him in agony before the Vikings got the win. 

"I was yelling, I was screaming. The people that was really hurt, they probably was annoyed by me. That was the first time I was in an ambulance and ER, it was definitely an experience I don’t want again," Jefferson said. "It definitely is a different vibe being in the back of that ambulance."

Most importantly, Jefferson says he feels pretty good and plans on playing Saturday against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Vikings are 7-6, in the thick of fighting for an NFC Playoff spot with four games to play and can win the NFC North Division for the second straight year if they win out. 

Jefferson watched Nick Mullen’s lead the only scoring drive against the Raiders for the win, and now will catch passes from him Saturday. Mullens was named the starter on Tuesday.

"I was watching the game on the way to the hospital, in the hospital, so I pretty much saw all of the plays. Nick definitely was in there feeling confident, he looked confident giving us what we needed. We have that confidence in him," Jefferson said.