Justin Jefferson’s injury could push Vikings to be sellers at trade deadline

A fire sale could be coming to Minnesota.

As if beginning the season 1-4 wasn’t bad enough, the Vikings were hit with arguably their most significant loss of the season on Tuesday when it was reported that All-Pro wide receiver Justin Jefferson is expected to be placed on short-term injured reserve with a hamstring injury, forcing him to miss the next four games.

Based on NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero’s reporting, he could be out longer than that.

Jefferson injured his hamstring against the Chiefs in Week 5 and was limited to three receptions for 28 yards in a 27-20 loss.

With the season spiraling out of control, Minnesota will likely be one of the biggest sellers at the trade deadline. ESPN’s Dan Graziano laid out the math on a potential deal involving quarterback Kirk Cousins, which showed trading for him is doable. If a team waits until the deadline to make a deal, “his new team would have to pay him $5.555 million for the rest of the season,” wrote Graziano.

Cousins is a 2024 free agent. After Minnesota parted with veterans including linebacker Eric Kendricks, wide receiver Adam Thielen and running back Dalvin Cook this past offseason, many have speculated that Cousins could be the next cornerstone of the franchise pushed out the door.

The Vikings travel to Chicago for a game against the Bears (1-4) in Week 6, which could accelerate Minnesota’s teardown. With a loss, it will fall to last in the NFC North with a game against San Francisco (5-0) on deck. The Vikings also play the Packers (2-3) on Oct. 29. 

The trade deadline is Oct. 31, giving the Vikings three games to determine what route it wants to take. Detroit (4-1) is comfortably in front in the division, and unless Minnesota starts winning, it will be out of playoff contention by the time Jefferson returns from injury. At a fork in the road, Minnesota might already have all the information it needs to choose its next step.

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