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Vikings WR Justin Jefferson looking forward to teaming up with QB Josh Dobbs in return from IR

Justin Jefferson is back from his stay on injured reserve. He's arrived to some new surroundings.

Jefferson will run routes for a new quarterback this weekend, veteran journeyman Josh Dobbs, who has captured the attention of the NFL world with his heroics displayed as starting quarterback of two different clubs in 2023. He nearly lost his job this week, but Vikings coach Kevin O'Connell decided to give Dobbs one more shot with a full deck at his disposal.

The ace up the sleeve? Jefferson, a dynamite receiver that Minnesota certainly missed in the last month. Dobbs might never have a better opportunity to prove himself than this weekend, when Jefferson steps foot on the field once again.

"Really both ways, just on the field and in the film room, just going over different plays with him, going over the timing of everything just like we did with Kirk (Cousins), and trying to find that connection that we can use for Sunday," Jefferson said when asked how he's gotten up to speed with Dobbs. "It's been a pleasure working with him, kinda learning things that I can learn from him, that he can learn from me, and it'll be better for us when we go out on that field."

The Vikings have tested both the hearts and the patience of their fans this season, starting the season 1-4 before ripping off five straight wins to move to 6-4. Dobbs was the catalyst of the last two triumphs, writing the best chapter of his surprising 2023 story. But in the last two weeks, the Passtronaut has fallen back to earth, throwing five combined interceptions across two straight Vikings losses.

Both of those losses came without Jefferson, who told reporters he feels just as explosive as before he suffered the hamstring injury that sent him to IR.

"If I didn't I wouldn't be playing," Jefferson said. "That was the main focus to getting back on the field, is having that same explosion, having that same power, having that same speed as I did before the injury."

He'll have to establish a rapport with Dobbs rather quickly to keep Minnesota's playoff hopes alive and off life support, a challenging task for any receiver. Fortunately for the Vikings, Jefferson isn't just any receiver.

"I mean, I've been talking with Josh, and of course before this week I wasn't really in practice as much, so wasn't really working with him as much," Jefferson said. "But I feel like we're going to be good, we're going to be fine, as long as he has confidence in me and I have confidence in him.

"I feel like Josh is a smart enough quarterback to read the defenses and choose when to throw me the ball, and see the double-teams and the single-highs, all of that. So, we go over that every single day, kind of prepare for that to happen throughout the game, so I feel like we're well-prepared in that aspect of things."

Jefferson once owned lofty goals of breaking 2,000 receiving yards, an achievement Dolphins receiver Tyreek Hill is in line to accomplish. After missing extended time, Jefferson isn't worried about the numbers anymore -- only wins.

"Shoot, we're trying to get to the playoffs, and get to the Super Bowl," Jefferson said. "I mean, the individual stats are not there for me this year, but it's more about winning for the team, more about doing things for the team to help. Of course, I had to do the sideline adjustment, but now it is more about getting on the field and helping this team out any way I can."

He and Dobbs will begin their journey toward such a goal this weekend in Las Vegas.

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