Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson was the consensus No. 1 overall draft pick in most fantasy football formats this offseason.
Don't expect Jefferson, who could miss a seventh game Monday night against the Bears, to apologize for his prolonged absence amid the vitriol from angry fans and gamblers he said he has received on social media.
Jefferson posted Tuesday on X, formerly known as Twitter, that his health is "more important than you winning your fantasy games, it doesn't matter how many times y'all flood my DMs talking about me [tanking] your team. I DON'T CARE."
As of Friday afternoon, Jefferson's X and Instagram accounts appeared to have been deactivated.
Earlier Friday, Jefferson was asked about shining light on harassment, which he said has been confined to social media. Running back Alexander Mattison spoke out earlier this season after he said he received more than 60 disparaging messages on social media following a prime-time loss to the Eagles in which he fumbled.
"I been getting it for five, six weeks now," Jefferson said. "I'm just tired of it. It's frustrating. It's draining to want to be out there on the field, wanting to play and all these other [people] saying things that are not true on how you're feeling."
"Y'all have no idea," he said. "It's honestly crazy. The amount of people that really criticize you and talk very, very bad about you, calling you different names. And you're just trying to be healthy and trying to be your best on the field. ... I'm more worried about my team and me being healthy."
Jefferson said he has been getting to top speeds and running well in practices, although he remained listed as limited in Friday's session. Coach Kevin O'Connell has maintained caution in Jefferson's recovery, saying Wednesday that "outside circumstances" — such Sunday night's loss at Denver — won't dictate whether Jefferson returns on Monday night.
"If I miss this one, it'll be the seventh game so it's definitely frustrating," Jefferson said. "It's tough to be patient and make sure an injury heals properly. It's definitely not something I want to do, but it comes with the game, comes with trying to be healthy, trying to be 100% and just carrying the safe route."
Jefferson also came to the defense of his new quarterback Joshua Dobbs when asked about Broncos safety Kareem Jackson's illegal hit last week in Denver. Broncos safety Justin Simmons backed Jackson, who was suspended four games but not flagged during the game, saying there's "no consistency in what's being asked" of NFL defenders.
"I don't really understand the argument of people on Kareem's side," Jefferson said. "It was blatantly a crown-of-the-helmet hit. I'm just happy that Josh didn't really get hurt in that position. ... They're trying to stop a player from getting more yards, but it's a difficult and dangerous sport that we play and of course hitting somebody with the crown of your helmet is not safe."
Evans remains limited; Hall cleared protocol
Cornerback Akayleb Evans remained limited Friday after returning to practice this week from a calf strain suffered Nov. 12 against the Saints. He did not play against the Broncos. During the portion of practice open to reporters, Evans warmed up with the team and rode a stationary bike during special teams drills. His right calf was wrapped. Reporters are not allowed to watch offensive and defensive sessions.
Tight end T.J. Hockenson (ribs) also remained limited in practice. Linebacker Brian Asamoah II (ankle) could return from a four-game absence after fully practicing Thursday and Friday.
The Vikings should have three healthy quarterbacks available on Monday night for the first time since Oct. 1 against the Panthers.
Quarterback Jaren Hall, the rookie fifth-round pick, cleared the concussion protocol after a full practice on Thursday. He suffered a head injury during a goal-line collision in the first quarter of his first NFL start on Nov. 5 against the Falcons.
"Lot of good work in the week leading up to it, learned a lot of things," Hall said Friday. "Regardless of the outcome — it's unfortunate, it's not what you're playing for — but I felt it's a lot that I can build from and further my career on. It was a good experience to have."
Quarterback Nick Mullens (back), who returned last week as the backup to Dobbs, was also a full participant on Friday.