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Sunday update: Justin Jefferson 'unlikely' to return Monday night

It sounds like the next time Jefferson will play in a game will be Dec. 10.
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It's only new because it's the newest report, but another report Sunday evening suggests there's a low chance that Justin Jefferson returns to the Minnesota Vikings against the Chicago Bears on Monday night. 

The report comes from ESPN's Adam Schefter and Jeremy Fowler, who cite "sources" who say Jefferson is "unlikely" to play as the Vikings "exercise caution" with their superstar wide receiver. 

Jefferson has missed the last six games after suffering a hamstring strain Oct. 8 against the Kansas City Chiefs. Minnesota has gone 5-1 without Jefferson and with the odds stacked in the Vikings' favor Monday against the three-win Bears, keeping Jefferson out of action will give him two more full weeks of rest because the Vikings don't play against until Dec. 10 against the Las Vegas Raiders. 

The difference is 13 days. Playing him on Monday night would be 50 days after the injury, whereas waiting through the bye to return in Vegas would give Jefferson 63 days to recover and get as close to 100% as possible for the stretch run. 

"It's just something where we know we've got a lot of football left ahead," Vikings coach Kevin O'Connell said Saturday. "We also know we've got the bye week next week. If you ask some of his teammates, they'd probably say he looks ready to roll right now. That's the tricky thing with an injury like this. He's getting great work, he's preparing himself for when he's ready to roll and we're doing the same thing as a football team."

The Vikings have been ramping Jefferson up the past couple of weeks and they have until 3 p.m. Monday to make an official decision ahead of Monday Night Football. 

Also worth noting is that the Vikings are running out of days to activate Jefferson from injured reserve. They opened his 21-day window to be activated on Nov. 8, which means they have until Tuesday, Nov. 28 to activate him, which they surely will barring a setback.  

Justin Jefferson

Justin Jefferson