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Vikings plan to place WR Justin Jefferson (hamstring) on injured reserve, timeline for return TBD

A bad start to the season got worse for the Minnesota Vikings.

The Vikings plan to place Justin Jefferson on injured reserve because of the hamstring injury he suffered in Sunday’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero reported Tuesday morning, per sources informed of the situation.

The exact timeline is TBD based on how Jefferson responds to treatment, Pelissero added, but going on IR knocks the star wideout out at least four games.

Jefferson exited Sunday's loss early in the fourth quarter and did not return.

On Monday, coach Kevin O'Connell said Jefferson would seek multiple medical opinions on his injured hamstring -- a sign the initial diagnosis wasn't rosy.

The coach noted that given Jefferson's competitive nature, the club would have to "protect him from himself a little bit." Placing the wideout on injured reserve, which mandates he miss at least four contests, could ensure he has enough time to get fully healthy before a return.

In the meantime, the Vikes will attempt to plow forward without one of the best receivers in the NFL. Rookie wideout Jordan Addison, who led Minnesota with six catches for 64 yards and a touchdown on Sunday, figures to see the most significant uptick in targets sans Jefferson. K.J. Osborn must also step up to fill the void. And tight end T.J. Hockenson will likely see his target-share increase with Jefferson on the shelf.

The Vikings got off to a 1-4 start to open the season, with the only victory coming over a winless Carolina Panthers club. The most optimistic part of the poor opening stage was that Jefferson, Kirk Cousins and the offense were gobbling up yards. If they could stop turning it over, they could keep pace with seemingly anyone. Now, with Jefferson out for at least four weeks, that theory will be put to the test.

Minnesota's next four games are in Chicago, versus San Francisco, at Green Bay, and at Atlanta.

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