Vikings coach Kevin O'Connell all but said Justin Jefferson will not play Sunday against the Saints, but the reigning NFL Offensive Player of the Year did participate in Wednesday's walk-through practice after the team opened the 21-day window for his return from a hamstring injury that has caused him to miss the last four games on injured reserve.

"He'll be acclimated back in and through kind of a preset timeline that we are working through," O'Connell said. "He's killed his whole rehab and done great things, everything we've asked of him."

Asked if there's any chance Jefferson could play Sunday, O'Connell said, "I think that would probably be a little aggressive. I think he feels really good, and I think we all feel good about where he's at, but we're going to take it a day at a time and ultimately do what's best for Justin and his long-term future here in Minnesota. Clearly, he wants to get back and have an impact on this team. He's been all-in, right there on the sideline with his teammates fighting it out every single week. He can't wait to get back out there."

The Vikings play at Denver on Nov. 19 and then play the Bears at home Nov. 27 before their bye week. O'Connell wouldn't say if the team's preset plan includes getting Jefferson ready to play the Broncos.

"We kind of have a rough timetable in our minds of what it looks like," O'Connell said. "We're just going to take it a day at a time from here on out. What this does is allow him to take part, a little individual here, a little team period here or there to get a feel for it.

"Now we can build it up little by little. I do think it's on a good timeline, considering the outlook on this thing when it first happened."

Jefferson injured a hamstring in the 27-20 loss to the Chiefs at U.S. Bank Stadium on Oct. 8. He went on injured reserve with 36 catches on 53 targets for 571 yards (15.9 average), three touchdowns and 28 first downs.

Jefferson played 51 snaps (71%) in the Chiefs game, catching only three passes on six targets for 28 yards and no touchdowns. He played in at least 95% of the snaps in each of the team's first four games and opened the year with 150, 159 and 149 yards against the Buccaneers, Eagles and Chargers, respectively.

With Jefferson in the lineup, the Vikings went 1-4 while averaging 22 points and 362.4 yards per game. Without him, the Vikings went 4-0 while averaging 345.3 yards and 24 points per game, including a season-high 31 with newly acquired Joshua Dobbs relieving rookie quarterback Jaren Hall in last Sunday's upset win in Atlanta.

Backup quarterback Nick Mullens was also eligible to return to practice after going on injured reserve at the same time as Jefferson because of a back injury, but he was not ready to come back Wednesday.