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Vikings to name QB 'shortly'; Justin Jefferson day-to-day after scare

Reaction from head coach Kevin O'Connell the day after the 3-0 win in Vegas.
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That isn't the wind howling outside, it's the collective sigh of relief blowing through Minnesota after Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell delivered good news after wide receiver Justin Jefferson was taken to a hospital with a chest injury Sunday in Las Vegas. 

"Justin Jefferson and his chest injury, out of precaution, did go to a local hospital and get some procedural tests done. Just to rule out any possible internal complications that could come from a hit like that," O'Connell said Monday, less than 24 hours after Jefferson was injured in Minnesota's 3-0 win over the Raiders. 

"All of which we're able to rule out any of those things and I consider Justin day-to-day with a good chance to hopefully be with us playing on Saturday in Cincinnati."

Jefferson was hit hard in his back after reaching up to catch a high pass from Josh Dobbs over the middle of the field in the second quarter. He went to the sideline, the blue medical tent, the locker room and then to a local hospital for evaluation. 

"He's doing pretty well today and it's just a matter of continuing to monitor any potential things that could arise," O'Connell said.

Jefferson had two catches for 27 yards. It was his first game in more than two months, having missed the previous eight games with a strained hamstring. 

Meanwhile, right tackle Brian O'Neill and running back Alexander Mattison are dealing with their own ankle injuries. O'Connell says both players on a "similar timeline" but he couldn't say for sure if they'd be on the field Saturday against the Bengals. The good news is that neither player suffered a serious injury. 

"We'll see how he handles treatment throughout the week and ultimately what his availability looks like for this coming Saturday is up in the air but I do think we were able to avoid a real long-term issue for Brian," O'Connell explained, adding that Mattison is in a "very similar situation with his ankle."

Right guard Ed Ingram didn't play because of a hip injury and he's considered day-to-day, according to O'Connell. 

Still no decision on starting QB

Will it be Nick Mullens or Josh Dobbs against the Bengals?

"I want to highlight Nick Mullens for his ability to come in the football game and execute the way he did," he said. "As we move forward in the week, w'ell make a decision on the starting quarterback. We're in the process of solidifying that as a staff now. We'll inform the players and then ultimately make an announcement here in the next couple days."

Dobbs started in Vegas but was benched in the fourth quarter after completing just 10-of 23 passes for 67 yards and taking five sacks. Mullens entered the game with about 10 minutes to play and completed 9-of-13 attempts for 83 yards and led Minnesota down the field to set up Greg Joseph's 36-yard field goal to win the game. 

"The process is a little bit more of making sure we go through a full evaluation of all the plays from yesterday," said O'Connell. "It's just a little early fro me to announce that but I feel like we're on our way to making that decision rather shortly here."

Nick Mullens

Dec 10, 2023; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Nick Mullens (12) celebrates after the game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium.