According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, Minnesota Vikings star receiver Justin Jefferson is headed to injured reserve after suffering a hamstring injury in the team’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. Jefferson will miss a minimum of four games, which include contests against the Bears, 49ers, Packers and Falcons.
It’s a massive loss for the 1-4 Vikings, who are desperately looking to turn around their rough start. Jefferson is a integral part of their offense, currently ranking third in the NFL in receiving yards (571) and sixth in receptions (36). The Vikings will have to rely more heavily on former Detroit Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson and rookie receiver Jordan Addison, but combining those players’ stats through four games (503 receiving yards) still doesn’t even match Jefferson’s output.
This is the latest development in a crumbling NFC North division. The Green Bay Packers lost an ugly game against the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday night, dropping their overall record to 2-3 and raising serious questions about the team’s offense under young quarterback Jordan Love. The Packers have been held to 20 or fewer points in three straight contest, while Love has thrown six interceptions to just two touchdowns over that time.
Only 1 team in the NFC North with a winning record.— Pride of Detroit (@PrideOfDetroit) October 10, 2023
That said, the Chicago Bears did win in Week 5, their first tally of the season. However, with all the dysfunction they’ve already gone through this year, they hardly seem like a candidate to make an improbable run at a playoff spot.
In other words, the opportunity for the Lions is wide open to win their division for the first time since 1993. Prior to Monday night’s result between the Packers and Raiders, DVOA projections gave Detroit an 87.5 percent chance to win the NFC North. Now you have to imagine the odds are far better for Detroit.
At this point, it certainly feels like only the Lions can stop the Lions from winning the division.