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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Vikings optimistic about getting three injured defenders back on Sunday

By Andrew Krammer

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Mike Zimmer is optimistic he’ll have Linval Joseph, Anthony Barr and Harrison Smith available for Sunday night’s game against the New York Giants.

But it’s possible Sunday’s game will have little impact on the Vikings’ postseason placement should the Green Bay Packers (10-4) lose to the Arizona Cardinals in a 3:25 p.m. CT kickoff on Sunday. If the Seahawks win or the Falcons lose, the Vikings clinch a playoff berth. If the Packers lose, the Jan. 3 season finale at Lambeau Field will decide the NFC North winner regardless of the Vikings’ result.

So, would Zimmer sit starters currently recovering from nagging injury if the situation arises?

“That’s a good question. I’ve talked about it and thought about it,” Zimmer said Wednesday. “I know that if we did something different other than play our best football — I’m too much of a competitor in each game that I wouldn’t want to fight. I do want to be smart. And that would be more so with guys that are hurt or something like that.

“It wouldn’t be — our mindest is to go win both these two games. Play our guys, game plan, prepare the way we do. Because I do think that it’s important. We’ve played good these last two games, and I think it’s important that we continue to build. If we happen to get in the playoffs, I think it’s important that we continue to push to where we want to get to.”

Barr, Smith and Joseph have been held out of the last two games (three for Joseph) due to lingering injuries that knocked both Smith and Barr out of the Dec. 6 loss to Seattle. Barr has played through a broken left hand since the Nov. 1 win over St. Louis, but a groin pull was a new hurdle for him to overcome.

“I hadn’t had that before,” Barr said. “It was frustrating, just like any muscle injury, you’ve got to be patient.”

Barr expects to practice on Wednesday and is optimistic about returning to the field on Sunday, which could be the Vikings’ final home game at the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium.

“I feel great, this is the best I’ve felt in a while,” Barr said. “So I look forward to getting back out there today, having a good week of practice and getting back out there on Sunday.”

Smith was limited in practice last week and appeared he’d give it a go against Chicago, but shut it down on Friday after his injured left leg, designated as knee and hamstring injuries, didn’t respond the way he wanted. Joseph has dealt with a toe injury since the Nov. 29 win at Atlanta.

It’s possible the Vikings are at full strength on defense Sunday against New York, but it’s also possible they don’t need to be.

The post Vikings optimistic about getting three injured defenders back on Sunday appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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