Justin Jefferson absolutely needs to sit out in Vikings season finale vs. Lions

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson / David Berding/GettyImages

Instead of risking his future in a meaningless matchup, Minnesota Vikings star wide receiver Justin Jefferson should sit out in Week 18 against the Detroit Lions.

For the first time in his NFL career, Minnesota Vikings All-Pro wide receiver Justin Jefferson was forced to miss a significant amount of time due to injury this season.

During his time away, it wasn't hard to tell that Jefferson was struggling with the fact that he couldn't be on the field to help his team. Eventually, he was able to return in Week 14 against the Las Vegas Raiders, and he's been in the starting lineup ever since.

Unfortunately, Minnesota has a 1-3 record since Jefferson returned a few weeks ago, and now the team is essentially out of the playoff race heading into the final game of the 2023 regular season.

Minnesota Vikings WR Justin Jefferson should sit out of Week 18 game vs. Detroit Lions

Technically, the Vikings can still make the postseason with a win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday. However, Minnesota's chance of actually getting a playoff spot is at 2.7 percent, according to ESPN, so the likelihood of more games for the Vikings after Week 18 is very low.

With this in mind, the Vikings should seriously consider keeping some of their top players, including Jefferson, on the sidelines for Sunday's game.

The risk is too high for the reward at this point, and Minnesota needs to protect their future. Just think how devastating it would be if Jefferson were to suffer a significant injury in Detroit that would put his status for the start of the 2024 season in jeopardy.

Individually, Jefferson also has a lot to lose if something were to happen on Sunday. The superstar wide receiver is on the brink of an offseason in which he will likely become one of the highest-paid non-quarterbacks in the entire NFL.

Early reports are pointing towards the Vikings playing their starters against the Lions, and this includes Jefferson. But before the game actually kicks off, Minnesota will need to think long and hard about whether keeping the face of their franchise healthy is more important than getting a win that will likely turn meaningless a few hours after the contest concludes.

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