LAKE FOREST, Ill. — After earning their first win of the 2023 season on Thursday evening, the Bears are going to catch a break in their efforts to get a second this weekend.
That’s because one of the most dynamic receivers in the NFL, Justin Jefferson, is likely going to be out of the lineup when the Vikings come to town Sunday.
Per numerous reports, the first from Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, the reigning NFL Offensive Player of the Year is going to be placed on injured reserve by Minnesota due to a hamstring injury.
Jefferson suffered it in the fourth quarter during a loss to the Chiefs at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday. By going on injured reserve, he’ll miss at least the next four games, starting with the match-up against the Bears on Sunday.
Both teams enter the game with a 1-4 record after less-than-ideal starts to the year, but this is a major blow to the Vikings’ hopes for a turnaround.
The reigning NFC North champions are losing a receiver who has 36 catches for 571 yards and three touchdowns in five games. This comes after Jefferson had 128 catches for 1,809 yards with eight touchdowns where he was a first-team NFL All-Pro and the league’s offensive player of the year.
Minnesota’s first round pick in 2020, Jefferson has 360 catches for 5,396 yards and 28 touchdowns in 55 games. In six games against the Bears, Jefferson has 41 catches for 585 yards and two touchdowns, helping the Vikings to a 5-1 record in those contests.
Having the receiver out will certainly help a Bears’ pass defense that’s ranked 31st in the NFL, allowing an average of 286 yards through the air in the first five games.