Justin Jefferson sets statistical goals before every season.
But the Vikings star receiver's strained right hamstring has forced him to personally reroute.
"That was the goal — to get to at least close to 2,000 [yards]," Jefferson said Thursday. "But since I got hurt, the new goal is 1,000. Of course, I want to end every single year over 1,000 yards."
Jefferson, who ends a seven-game absence on Sunday against the Raiders, can achieve 1,000 with 429 yards in the final five games. That's doable if he maintains close to the 114-yard weekly pace he set in five weeks before the injury.
But Jefferson's broader vision has not changed. He's back. And he's back to chase a ring.
"We are trying to get to the playoff and get to the Super Bowl," Jefferson said. "The individual stats are not there for me this year, but it's more about winning for the team, doing things for the team to help out."
Whether the Vikings have a viable playoff team will rest on whether Jefferson can quickly build a rapport with a new quarterback. Kirk Cousins suffered a torn Achilles tendon on Oct. 29 in Green Bay — Jefferson's third game sidelined — and Joshua Dobbs will be playing his fifth game Sunday.
Jefferson returned to practice Nov. 8, but he remained limited for three weeks (the fourth week was the bye) until logging his first full session on Wednesday. He said he hasn't had that much practice time with Dobbs.
"Before this week I wasn't really in practice that much," Jefferson said. "Wasn't really working with him as much, but I feel like we're going to be good. We're going to be fine. As long as he has confidence in me, I'm going to have confidence in him."
Jefferson said he feels like the same All-Pro receiver that racked up 571 yards in five games to start the year.
"If I didn't, I wouldn't be playing," Jefferson said. "That was the focus to getting back on the field was to have that same explosion, have that same power and have that same speed I did before."
He hoped to be the first player in NFL history to reach 2,000 receiving yards in a season; the record is 1,964 by Calvin Johnson in 2012, in a 16-game season. Miami's Tyreek Hill is on pace for 2,098 receiving yards in this 17-game season. Jefferson's 1,809 last season were sixth most all-time.
The Vikings offense still ranks 10th in the NFL in yards per game, but averaged 20 fewer yards in the seven-game stretch without Jefferson. The team leaned on tight end T.J. Hockenson, who caught 50 passes for 532 yards and three touchdowns over seven games. That included his historic first half on Nov. 12 against the Saints when he had 10 grabs for 128 yards and a score — despite two injured ribs.
But Hockenson prefers Jefferson on the field. He hogs the ball, but he also takes away defenders.
"Back to what we know," Hockenson said. "The [Raiders] are going to throw some stuff at us that we probably haven't seen a ton on tape just because JJ is out there, but that's a good thing for us."
"It gives us all opportunities when he gets the attention. They're going to try to double him, but he's still going to win."
The Vikings will return to the starting receiver lineup featuring Jefferson, Jordan Addison and K.J. Osborn. Brandon Powell, who had 20 catches for 221 yards and a touchdown in the last seven games, goes back to a mostly special teams role.
The offense will have its top five receivers, including Jalen Nailor, together for the first time since Week 2.
"The room gets a little more crowded," offensive coordinator Wes Phillips said. "Understanding the type of player JJ is, other guys have to be a little less selfish when you get a guy like that."
Getting a weapon like Jefferson back boosts everybody's spirits.
"It's a blast to have him back in the huddle," Hockenson said. "His presence is awesome. You got to love JJ. In the huddle he's always smiley and just ready to... he gets a look on his face and it's go time."