Vikings open practice window for Justin Jefferson

Star wide receiver Justin Jefferson may not be back yet but he’s getting closer.

The Minnesota Vikings officially designated Jefferson to return to practice on Wednesday, a month after he was placed on injured reserve due to a hamstring strain.

It’s still unclear when Jefferson will actually be ready to return to game action but the move is the first step in his return and opens his 21-day window to return to action.

Jefferson has missed the Vikings’ past four games, all wins, as the team has surged back into the playoff picture despite a 1-4 start to the season.

Before his injury, the 24-year-old posted 36 catches for 571 yards and three touchdowns.

Also Wednesday, the club officially put running back Cam Akers on injured reserve after he tore an Achilles tendon in Sunday’s game at Atlanta. The Vikings re-signed former Gophers quarterback Tanner Morgan to the practice squad in place of defensive lineman Sheldon Day, who was released.

Minnesota is back in action Sunday against New Orleans. At 5-4, the Vikings currently sit in second place in the NFC North, 1.5 games behind Detroit and a game ahead of both Washington and Atlanta for the final wild card spot.