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There's a "good chance" Justin Jefferson will play Saturday, Vikings' coach says

Justin Jefferson suffers chest injury vs. Raiders, but Vikings "encouraged" by early news
Justin Jefferson suffers chest injury vs. Raiders, but Vikings "encouraged" by early news 00:25

MINNEAPOLIS — Justin Jefferson's long-awaited return to the field on Sunday didn't last long.

After missing two months with a hamstring injury, Jefferson suited up for the game against the Las Vegas Raiders. He caught just two passes before taking a hit over the middle of the field and heading to the locker room. He was ruled out with a chest injury and taken to a local hospital.

"Justin Jefferson sustained a chest, internal chest injury there," head coach Kevin O'Connell said after the game. "We wanted to rule out any potential complications from that, so he did go to a local hospital and get evaluated and he has since returned and he will travel home with us. So feel pretty encouraged about the early news on Justin. Now we'll have to see on a short week how he's able to turn over from this."

Minnesota Vikings v Las Vegas Raiders
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - DECEMBER 10: Justin Jefferson #18 of the Minnesota Vikings catches the ball during the first half of the game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on December 10, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Getty Images

Then, on Monday afternoon, O'Connell said Jefferson is "day-to-day with a good chance" of playing on Saturday. 

The Vikings' offense was bloodless all day, even before Jefferson's injury, but the team went on to beat the Raiders 3-0 thanks to an outstanding defensive performance.

Their next game is Saturday at noon against the Cincinnati Bengals, who have put up 68 total points in their last two games, both wins. Jefferson may have extra motivation to return for this one with his former LSU teammate Ja'Marr Chase on the opposite sideline.

On the season, Jefferson has 38 catches for 598 yards and three touchdowns.

Jefferson wasn't the only Viking injured on Sunday. Right tackle Brian O'Neill was ruled out with a left ankle sprain, while running back Alexander Mattison suffered a right ankle sprain, according to O'Connell. Wide receiver Jalen Nailor is in the concussion protocol.

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