When the Chicago Bears take on the Minnesota Vikings in Week 6, they will have one less headache defensively with stud wide receiver Justin Jefferson on injured reserve with a hamstring injury. Jefferson’s already-prolific career has notably led to more production than any Bears wide receiver has ever had. Without him, the Vikings’ attack will look different.
Former teammate and Bears cornerback Joejuan Williams offered his thoughts on Jefferson.
“He is what he is,” Williams said after Thursday’s practice. “He’s a dominant guy. A leader for that team. One of the voices for that team. And, again, he’s a star, man. He’s a great guy, on and off the field, and I’m wishing him the best on IR.”
Bears’ Joejuan Williams Wishes Vikings’ Justin Jefferson ‘the Best’
Jefferson started the season with back-to-back 150-receiving-yard games, barely missing his third straight by one yard.
Already a three-time Pro Bowler in just his fourth NFL season, Jefferson racked up 154 yards on 12 receptions in the first meeting. But he was held to just 38 yards on four grabs in their second meeting in a meaningless Week 17 tilt. He will be eligible to return from injured reserve in Week 10, putting him on target to face the Bears in Week 12 in Minnesota.
JUSTIN JEFFERSON 52-YARD TD FOR THE LEAD
— NFL (@NFL) September 24, 2023
Williams was originally a second-round pick of the New England Patriots.
He spent the first three seasons of his career in New England. But he spent this past offseason on the Vikings’ practice squad.
The Bears signed him to their active roster in September and, with all of the injuries to the secondary piling up, he got some run on defense in the Week 5 win over the Washington Commanders, logging eight snaps.
Chicago’s secondary is getting healthier. with Kyler Gordon, Eddie Jackson, and Jaylon Johnson all on track to return after logging back-to-back limited practices to start the week. But Willimas has also logged 19 special teams snaps over the last two weeks, offering a different potential path to facing his former teammates.
There aren’t any secrets to be gleaned, even after spending the summer with Minnesota.
“It’s another game for me,” Williams said. “At the end of the day, though, it’s gonna be cool to go against some guys that I built a bond with over time. I’m excited for the competition to be real.”
Williams also spoke highly of Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins.
Kirk Cousins a ‘Good Guy’, Bears’ Joejuan Williams Says
“Kirk was a good guy, too,” Williams said. “Another leader of the team. One of the spokesmen of the team. Will get up there and talk to the whole team in the middle of meetings. And so, I’m just excited about the competition and to go against him again.”
"You understand there's a lot of football ahead…you got to go change it and win it." – QB Kirk Cousins on being 1-4 and moving forward. pic.twitter.com/9EJzFltnWd
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) October 11, 2023
Cousins is completing 67.2% of his passes this season for 1,498 yards with 13 touchdowns and just four interceptions. He has a 7-4 record against the Bears in his career, has led the Vikings to four consecutive wins versus their division rival, and will pose a challenge for a Bears defense that has struggled to bring down the quarterback this season.