For the first time since he was placed on injured reserve a few weeks ago, Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson answered questions from reporters on Thursday.
Ever since he injured his hamstring back in a Week 5 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, we haven't heard almost anything from Minnesota Vikings All-Pro wide receiver Justin Jefferson.
But with the Vikings opening up Jefferson's practice window on Wednesday to potentially return from the team's injured reserve list within the next three weeks, the star pass-catcher took some time on Thursday to answer questions from some members of the local Twin Cities media.
At one point, Jefferson was asked about when he might know when he's ready to return to the field for Minnesota, and the Pro Bowl wide receiver provided the following answer.
"The guys and the rest of the coaching staff in this building know my worth on the field, and they want me [to be] 100 percent [healthy], as I do as well. I don't want to go out there 80, 90 percent and have the chance of hurting it again."
When could Justin Jefferson make his return for the Minnesota Vikings?
So, according to Jefferson, he doesn't want to suit up for the Vikings until he is 100 percent healthy? When that might be is still unknown, but with his practice window opening up on Wednesday, one would assume that it will be some time before Minnesota returns from their bye to take on the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 14.
It sounds like Jefferson won't be making his return during the Vikings' upcoming Week 10 game on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints. The high altitude and potential for snowy weather against the Denver Broncos on the road probably means that Minnesota's star wide receiver won't return in Week 11, either.
So if Jefferson is going to be back on the field before the Vikings have their bye in Week 13, their Monday night matchup inside their home stadium against the Chicago Bears in Week 12 seems like the ideal opportunity.
Despite U.S. Bank Stadium being where the initial injury occurred, it's a familiar playing surface for Jefferson, and the game will take place in a controlled environment. The Bears also aren't expected to be a tough matchup in Week 12, so Minnesota could even have their top receiver on a pitch count for the game if they wanted to.
Then, by the time the Vikings return from their bye in Week 14, Jefferson should be as close to 100 percent as possible to help the team during a five-game stretch to close out the regular season that includes a road matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals and two games against the Detroit Lions.
Could Jefferson be ready by the Sunday night matchup against the Broncos in Week 11? Sure, especially if Minnesota loses to the Saints on Sunday.
But if anyone were to place a wager on when Jefferson's first game back with the Vikings will be this season, Week 12 inside U.S. Bank Stadium against Chicago seems like a safe bet.