Vikings’ Kevin O’Connell Gives ‘Early’ Update on Justin Jefferson After Injury

Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings

Getty Justin Jefferson #18 of the Minnesota Vikings.

The Minnesota Vikings beat the Las Vegas Raiders 3-0 in a matchup that featured many twists, turns, and, unfortunately for both teams, injuries.

Vikings star Justin Jefferson had to leave the game, his first back from a five-week absence with a hamstring injury. The ailment this time was a chest injury, which led to Jefferson being taken to the hospital.

Head coach Kevin O’Connell gave an update on the star’s status after the game.

“Justin Jefferson sustained kind of a chest- internal chest injury there. We wanted to rule out any potential complications from that so he did go to a local hospital and get evaluated,” O’Connell said in a press conference after the game. “And he has since returned and he will travel home with us. So feel pretty encouraged about the early news on Justin.”

Jefferson suffered the injury early in the second quarter as a result of a hit from Raiders safety Marcus Epps.

The three-time Pro Bowler had 2 receptions for 27 yards when he went down. His yardage tied teammate Jordan Addison for second-most on the team, and it was the most among the wide receivers.

“We’ll have to see, on a short week, how he’s able to turn over from this,” O’Connell said.

The Vikings visit the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday, December 16. The league flexed them out of their original Sunday slot. Cincinnati got a 34-14 victory over the Indianapolis Colts in Week 14 behind 275 passing yards and 1 touchdown from quarterback Jake Browning in his third start in place of the injured Joe Burrow.

It’s bad enough that Jefferson suffered another injury in his highly anticipated return to action. But that is not the only injury the Vikings have to navigate.

Justin Jefferson Not Only Injury Update for Vikings

Brian O’Neill suffered an ankle sprain, left ankle sprain,” O’Connell said of the Vikings’ starting right tackle. “Did not return.”

O’Neill’s injury could prove even more significant with starting right guard Ed Ingram missing Week 14 with a hip injury. Ingram was questionable after practicing all week in a limited fashion, though, perhaps suggesting he had a chance to play.

The day off might get him back in there which could soften the blow if O’Neill has to miss time.

Alex Mattison. A right ankle sprain,” O’Connell said. “Did not return.”

Mattison drew the start in the game. He finished with 66 yards on 10 carries. His replacement, second-year man Ty Chandler, carried the ball 12 times total. But he could only muster 35 yards, a 2.9 yards-per-carry average. Mattison was at 6.9 yards per carry when he went down, a new season high. His 66 yards on the ground are his fourth most this season.

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“And then Jalen Nailor there late looked to sustain a concussion. At least he was put in the protocol,” O’Connell said. “So we’ll see how he handles kind of the travel home, and then the short week like I was talking about.”

The second-year man, Nailor, had a pair of grabs for 13 yards.

Injuries Struck Raiders Too

The Raiders did not escape the game cleanly, losing running back Josh Jacobs to a knee injury in the fourth quarter.

Jacobs led the NFL in rushing last season, and he entered Week 14 leading the league in carries this season. For a now 5-8 Raiders squad that is still alive in the playoff race, there are no small losses.

An extended absence by Jacobs would be a significant blow to their offense, though.