Justin Jefferson couldn't contain his excitement after watching his Vikings team beat the Saints 27-19 at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday.
"I can not wait to get on the field with this team again!!!" Jefferson tweeted.
It makes sense that Jefferson, who is getting closer to a return, is fired up to play with this iteration of the Vikings. They've managed to win five games in a row in his absence, using three different starting quarterbacks during that span. As a result, they've gone from 1-4 — and hearing speculation about tanking — to 6-4 and in the heart of the playoff race.
On Sunday, with Josh Dobbs making his first Minnesota start, the Vikings cruised to a 24-3 halftime lead behind some dual-threat brilliance from their new QB. Dobbs ran for 40 yards and a touchdown in the first half and also threw for 220, finding T.J. Hockenson for a 28-yard score just before the break. He put together a full highlight reel of impressive plays, frequently extending things with his legs and making things happen outside of the pocket.
What made the performance even more impressive is that it happened without Jefferson or K.J. Osborn, who was held out for precautionary reasons after suffering a concussion last week. With Kevin O'Connell calling plays and Dobbs running the show, how good can this offense be once Jefferson is back?
"I thought Josh did a really nice job in this game, especially in the first half, of trusting the protection," O'Connell said. "The O-line gave him time and he exhausted some progressions and then still used his legs. That's really hard on a defense. And you saw them respond, spying him a little bit more in the second half. That's when it gets exciting to think about when we do get Justin Jefferson and K.J. and our full group back, defenses having to account for (Josh's) ability to activate his legs will only help other things we want to do."
Dobbs carved up the Saints in the first half with Hockenson and Jordan Addison as his top two targets. Once Jefferson is added back into that mix as the No. 1 option, this offense has a chance to be very dangerous.
When that happens is still unclear. Jefferson returned to practice this week and was listed as questionable on Friday before being downgraded to out on Saturday. In order to reduce the risk of re-injury, he's not going to return until his hamstring is back to 100 percent. That could be as soon as next Sunday against the Broncos. It could be the following week against the Bears. Or it could even be after the Vikings' Week 13 bye.
If Dobbs is still playing at this level when the Vikings get Jefferson back, watch out. This could be a team that NFC contenders don't want to see in the postseason.