LAS VEGAS — When Justin Jefferson returned to the field Sunday for the first time since Oct. 8, the thousands of Vikings fans who traveled to Allegiant Stadium roared.
They did the same when Jefferson made a diving catch for his first reception since the hamstring injury he sustained eight weeks ago, and when Jefferson leaped to snare a high throw from Joshua Dobbs over the middle of the field with 9:54 left in the second quarter. But when Jefferson absorbed a shot from Raiders safety Marcus Epps and came up with a hand on his lower back, the receiver's return was put on hold.
Jefferson was brought to the locker room after a brief examination in the medical tent. The receiver initially tried to stay in the game after the shoulder he took from Epps on the right side of his chest, but went to the sideline once he was wincing in pain and doubled over with his hands on his thighs while talking to head athletic trainer Uriah Myrie.
Jefferson was ruled out after halftime and taken to the hospital as a precaution, but later rejoined the team at Allegiant Stadium. Dobbs had targeted Jefferson three times on the Vikings' first two drives, and the receiver left with two catches for 27 yards.
Coach Kevin O'Connell said Jefferson had X-rays and was cleared of "anything serious," adding, "Feel pretty encouraged about the early news on Justin.
"What I've been told, looks like we avoided any significant thing there," O'Connell said. "Now we'll see where he's at, able to fly home with us, get him some treatment and see where he's at for his availability for next week."