Skip to main content

News | Minnesota Vikings –

O'Connell: Jefferson 'Day-to-Day' for Week 15; Injury Updates & QB Evaluation

EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings have multiple players on the mend and shorter time to prepare to play the Bengals on Saturday in Cincinnati.

Head Coach Kevin O'Connell spoke to media members on Monday afternoon following the team's 3-0 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders. Sunday's victory was only the 16th shutout in franchise history, and O'Connell said the Vikings needed every defensive play to win.

The defensive battle in Las Vegas came at a price. The Vikings endured several injuries to key players, including star receiver Justin Jefferson, who exited the game with 9:10 remaining in the second quarter after making his second catch of the afternoon. Jefferson high-pointed a pass over the middle from quarterback Joshua Dobbs for a gain of 15 yards, but Raiders safety Marcus Epps tagged Jefferson with a legal hit to his chest.

O'Connell said Jefferson was transported to a Las Vegas hospital for precautionary tests, ensuring it was safe to fly back with the team after the game. The team considers Jefferson day-to-day, though O'Connell said there is hope Jefferson will be available to play Saturday.

"Once you are able to rule out potentially some of those complications, and our doctors did a did a great job, being proactive to do the things we needed to do to make sure he could fly home with us and be with us, which he was able to do," O'Connell said. "He's doing pretty well today. And yeah, it's just a matter of continuing to monitor any potential things that could arise. But what he's like from a standpoint of his ability to get some preparation throughout the week and feel comfortable and ready to go for Saturday, will be determined as we go here."

Updates on O'Neill, Mattison & Ingram

Right tackle Brian O'Neill (late second quarter) and running back Alexander Mattison (early third quarter) each suffered ankle injuries and did not return to the game. O'Connell said both starters are also day-to-day.

"Brian O'Neill's ankle injury, as tough as Brian is, trying to come back in the football game, he was unable to do that. We'll see how he handles treatment throughout the week, and ultimately what his availability looks like for this coming Saturday is up in the air, but I do think we were able to avoid a real long-term issue for Brian there," O'Connell said. "Alex Mattison, kind of a very similar situation with his ankle. We'll see how he progresses through the week. But kind of a similar timeline for those two players."

Swing tackle David Quessenberry replaced O'Neill, logging 42 of the offense's 72 snaps. O'Connell said he was pleased with Quessenberry, but offensive line injuries are often difficult to navigate. Guard Ed Ingram was not active for the game due to a hip injury. Blake Brandel started at right guard in his place.

"As it relates to Ed, it's just gonna be a day-to-day process. I see a good chance that we have him this week, but I don't want to get ahead of myself," O'Connell said, "It'll take him able to get back on the practice field and get some significant work in so that he can have confidence going into Saturday that we feel good about him being available."

And then Jalen Nailor is indeed in the concussion protocol and he'll work through the steps to see if he can be available this week. But as always with head injuries, we will be very cautious and make sure that we allow the medical team and our doctors to determine with Jalen his availability as it pertains to Saturday.

Nailor in concussion protocol

Second-year receiver Jalen Nailor is in concussion protocol after a helmet-to-helmet hit that did not draw a penalty flag in the fourth quarter.

"He'll work through the steps to see if he can be available this week," O'Connell said. "But as always with head injuries, we will be very cautious and make sure that we allow the medical team and our doctors to determine with Jalen his availability as it pertains to Saturday."

Evaluating quarterbacks

Four Vikings quarterbacks have completed passes this season, with Nick Mullens joining the list Sunday at Las Vegas against his previous team. Mullens subbed in with 9:10 remaining in the game and provided a spark with a 26-yard completion to T.J. Hockenson on his first snap of 2023.

Mullens replaced Joshua Dobbs, who went 10-for-23 with 63 yards and five sacks that totaled 47 lost yards in his fourth start with the team.

Mullens was on Injured Reserve when Kirk Cousins was lost for the season at Green Bay in Week 8. Minnesota started fifth-round pick Jaren Hall at Atlanta the following week, but he left the game with a concussion, which led to Dobbs coming in with a remarkable showing days after he was acquired by Minnesota from Arizona.

"The process is more making sure we go through a full evaluation of all the plays from yesterday, and then it's a matter of just the dialogue with the staff and making sure everybody understands where I would like to go with the decision and then communication with the players," O'Connell said. "We got back late last night and have been in that process today. It's just a little early for me to announce that, but I feel like we're on our way to making that decision rather shortly here."