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Justin Jefferson was a "major part" of practice for the Vikings on Wednesday, and the star wide receiver is "getting closer" to returning from a hamstring injury, coach Kevin O'Connell told reporters this week. But Jefferson is still expected to miss a seventh straight game when Minnesota hosts the Bears on Monday night, according to The Athletic.

The Vikings "are not going to push their best player to get back on the field" despite the fact that they are in the playoff hunt, Dianna Russini wrote Thursday. It helps, Russini noted, that Minnesota has a Week 13 bye approaching, meaning Jefferson could potentially return in Week 14 after an additional two weeks of rest. He's been on injured reserve since Oct. 11.

One of the NFL's most productive pass catchers when healthy, the 24-year-old Jefferson has repeatedly hinted about a return to the field, recently suggesting he's excited to work with new quarterback Joshua Dobbs. But he's also hinted he won't rush his recovery, recently posting on social media that his health is more important than "your fantasy (football) games."

If Jefferson doesn't suit up against the Bears, the Vikings figure to lean on reserves K.J. Osborn and Brandon Powell behind rookie Jordan Addison out wide, with tight end T.J. Hockenson remaining a top target. Minnesota (6-5) is one of several NFC teams well-positioned to make a run at a wild-card spot, but the Bears (3-8) are fresh off a close defeat to the Lions.