On November 21, 2023, star wide receiver Justin Jefferson made it clear that he will not return to the Minnesota Vikings until he is fully healthy, despite pleas from fantasy football managers for him to play. Jefferson emphasized that his health is more important than the outcome of fantasy games and that he will not be swayed by messages from fans asking him to return.
Jefferson has been on the injured reserve list since suffering a right hamstring injury in Week 5, and both he and Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell have stated that he will not return until he is completely recovered. O’Connell noted that the team was ramping up Jefferson’s recovery and suggested that Jefferson might not play in the upcoming Monday night game against the Chicago Bears, in order to take advantage of the bye week that follows. Since Jefferson’s 21-day practice window opened on November 8, joining the team could give him a total of eight weeks off if he does not return until the December 10 game against the Las Vegas Raiders.
ESPN reporter Kevin Seifert contributed to the report, highlighting O’Connell’s comments on prioritizing Jefferson’s long-term career over just a few games. Seifert also mentioned that while some fantasy football managers may be disappointed by Jefferson’s decision, it’s ultimately understandable given his importance to both his team and his own health.