Whew: the New Orleans Saints just caught a big break, with the Minnesota Vikings declining to activate wide receiver Justin Jefferson ahead of their Week 10 matchup. Jefferson missed four games with a hamstring injury and returned to practice this week on a limited basis — but he isn’t ready to suit up just yet.
That’s good news for a Saints defense that gave up 10 receptions for 147 yards (plus a 3-yard touchdown run) to Jefferson when he competed with them in London last year. Jefferson is one of the best in the game and his presence, even coming off an injury, would dramatically better Minnesota’s chances of moving the ball and getting into the end zone.
So in his absence they’ll have to rely on receivers like rookie draft pick Jordan Addison, who has caught seven touchdown passes in his first nine games. Minnesota’s receiving corps is led by T.J. Hockenson, whose 60 receptions are more than any other tight end this season. Hockenson’s 547 receiving yards are second only to Kansas City Chiefs star Travis Kelce, and the two players are tied for the most first down conversions (31) among their peers. Even if Jefferson isn’t playing, the Saints can’t afford to overlook the Vikings’ weapons and quarterback Joshua Dobbs, who brings his own challenges to the table.