Vikings WR Justin Jefferson won’t return Sunday against Saints

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 host the New Orleans Saints on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium in a game you can watch on FOX 9, and they will not have Justin Jefferson available.

According to an NFL Network report, the Vikings will not activate Jefferson from injured reserve. The Vikings on Saturday declared him out for the game.

The star receiver has missed the last four games after going on IR with a hamstring injury suffered in the fourth quarter of the Vikings’ Week 5 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. The Vikings designated Jefferson to return to practice on Wednesday, giving him up to 21 days to get back on the field. He was limited all week in practice.

Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell said Wednesday "It would probably be a little aggressive" to think Jefferson could be activated to play Sunday against the Saints. The original timeline on the injury was four to six weeks. The team listed him as questionable for Sunday’s game.

The Vikings travel to Denver for Sunday Night Football Week 11, and the logical option would be to bring Jefferson back against the Chicago Bears for Week 12 on Monday Night Football at U.S. Bank Stadium.

In five games, Jefferson has 36 catches for 571 yards and three touchdowns. The Vikings have managed to go 4-0 without him, and have won five of their last six games after an 0-3 start to get back into the NFC Playoff picture.