Justin Jefferson unsure if he'll play on MNF (0:49)Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson discusses his frustration with missing extended time and whether he'll play on "Monday Night Football." (0:49)
EAGAN, Minn. -- The Minnesota Vikings are continuing to mull the possibility of holding All-Pro receiver Justin Jefferson out of Monday night's game against the Chicago Bears, the final game he could miss under the terms of his 21-day window to return from injured reserve, coach Kevin O'Connell acknowledged Saturday.
Jefferson injured his right hamstring Oct. 8 and the Vikings opened his window return to practice Nov. 8. The team has slowly ramped up his exertion levels over the past three weeks, but Jefferson has not yet fully participated in a practice and he is listed as questionable on this week's injury report.
Jefferson said this week that he had run full speed at certain points in practice, and O'Connell said Saturday that Jefferson "took part in some team reps."
But O'Connell and Jefferson have both said he would not return until he is 100 percent, and the Vikings have a bye in Week 13 that would in essence give Jefferson a "free" week of recovery before the Vikings have their next game Dec. 10 at the Las Vegas Raiders.
"We know we've got a lot of football left ahead," O'Connell said. "We also know we've got the bye week next week that gives us possibly an extra week of preparation for him to feel like he's got more and more work ready to go. But if you ask some of his teammates they'd probably say he sure looks ready to roll right now, and that's what the tricky thing is with an injury like this.
"This is not really something where there's a lot to invest time or energy in to try to figure it all out. It comes down to the best receiver in football trying to get to 100 percent so we can get him back out there not just for any short-term burst but for a heck of a lot longer than that."
Jefferson said Friday that sitting out against the Bears is "definitely not something I want to do" but added that being patient "comes with the game, it comes with trying to be healthy, trying to be 100 percent and [following] the safe route."
Ultimately, Jefferson said, "we're going to weigh the options correctly, making sure that I'm feeling well and prepared to play a game, and if I'm feeling good I will play."