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Vikings WR Justin Jefferson (hamstring) says he's day to day, will not play at 80 or 90 percent

For the first time in his career, Justin Jefferson has been forced to miss a month's worth of action. As his hamstring injury keeps him on injured reserve, Jefferson still isn't certain of when he'll be back.

The Minnesota Vikings star wide receiver discussed his status with reporters on Thursday with a tone that can be described as both vague and cautiously optimistic.

"It's a day to day. You can't really put a date on it at this very moment," Jefferson said of his injury and recovery. "(The training staff) has been doing a phenomenal job with me. Making sure I'm feeling good. Making sure I'm getting the work that I need done, and the rehab and the treatment that I need."

Hamstring injuries are notoriously delicate issues that typically require caution and patience. Jefferson has exercised both to this point, and luckily for him, the Vikings have found ways to win games without him and currently sit at 5-4 with a game against the Saints on Sunday. He's not feeling overly rushed to get back onto the field, but because the Vikings have opened the 21-day practice window for Jefferson to approach a return, he'll remain a topic of conversation until he returns to action.

Jefferson remains acutely focused on strengthening his hamstring and also paying close attention to how his body responds. So far, so good, but that doesn't mean he'll be back overnight (Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell told reporters this week that Jefferson is unlikely to play on Sunday).

"It's all about how I'm feeling and how strong the hamstring is. Hamstring is difficult injury because it lingers," Jefferson told reporters on Thursday. "It comes back from time to time if you don't put the right treatment into it. The guys and the rest of the coaching staff in this building know my worth on the field. They want me 100 percent. As I do as well. I don't want to go out there 80, 90 percent and have the chance of hurting it again. It's day to day, like I said, and when that time comes I'll definitely be ready to step out on that field."

Rookie Jordan Addison has done a remarkably good job of filling in for Jefferson, catching 28 passes for 349 yards and five touchdowns over his last five games. But the Vikings drafted Addison with the vision of him occupying a strong, complementary role alongside Jefferson, not as the Vikings' top pass-catching option.

Those two will hopefully be reunited before long. It would go a long way toward helping whoever takes starting snaps under center (this week, it's Josh Dobbs) following the loss of Kirk Cousins to a season-ending Achilles injury. Until then, though, patience remains the most important word.

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