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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Recovering from turf toe, Linval Joseph anticipates health and ‘new energy’

By Andrew Krammer

MINNEAPOLIS — The biggest man in the Vikings defense was held back by the smallest, yet painful, of injuries.

Linval Joseph still isn’t fully healed from his turf toe, though the Vikings’ 329-pound nose tackle said he’s anticipating the road ahead after a relatively dormant four months. His routine will liven up a bit Monday as the team opens voluntary workouts. Most players will rejoin recovering teammates like Joseph, who said he’s had “a lot of time to rest” with much of the offseason spent in Minnesota and rehabbing from his January surgery.

On Sunday night, Joseph was recognized as the Vikings’ defensive player of the year during the annual Minnesota Football Honors ceremony — despite missing four games after the Georgia Dome turf aptly produced his turf toe on Nov. 29. Joseph delayed an operation and shouldered 42 snaps in the Vikings’ 10-9 loss to Seattle in the NFC wild-card round.

A toe injury on a big man isn’t a small matter, and the Vikings treated it as such when he was held back during last fall’s divisional race. Though he’s still recovering, Joseph was in good spirits and said he’s working to ‘build’ his body back to health and full strength. And he has plenty of time with just over three months until training camp.

“It was pretty painful,” Joseph said. “Never had it before. Normally [happens to] running backs or skill guys. I guess I’m a skill guy.

“Toe is back almost to 100 [percent]…You want to build your way up.”

Akin to a receiver or running back’s glory on offense, Joseph can command the same attention when he’s playing at his peak in the middle of Mike Zimmer’s defense. At his most bruising last season, the 27-year-old Joseph helped push the Vikings through a five-game winning streak, picking up a NFC Defensive Player of the Week honor along the way. Though as with a few teammates, injury limited his play down the stretch.

The Vikings dealt with a trio of critical injuries up front as Joseph (toe), defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (knee/ankle) and nose tackle Shamar Stephen (knee/toe) each missed at least three games. Stephen, the second-year rotational nose tackle, was placed on injured reserve by Week 7.

They’ve put together a solid defensive front and now they’d welcome some health after defensive end Everson Griffen, safety Harrison Smith and linebacker Anthony Barr, among others, also played through significant injuries last season.

“We have a great group of guys,” Joseph said. “Our core defensive guys, I love our defensive guys. We communicate, we talk. Everybody wants to be great. When you have a lot of guys that are hungry, it makes it easy for you to work together.”

As well as health, Joseph is anticipating the Vikings’ new home. They’ll transition from the TCF Bank Stadium turf to the new field inside U.S. Bank Stadium, which is slated to open this summer for the 2016 season. It’ll be the second new stadium in Joseph’s seven-year NFL career, as he was drafted by the New York Giants in the second round before MetLife Stadium opened in 2010.

From his experiences, Joseph proclaimed that even the media will have ‘new energy.’

“And it’s just going to be a new energy,” Joseph said. “From the fans, from the reporters — from everybody…The newest, the best, the lights, everything. It just give you another surge of energy.”

The post Recovering from turf toe, Linval Joseph anticipates health and ‘new energy’ appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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