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Joseph, Smith return to Vikings practice on limited basis

EDEN PRAIRIE -- The Vikings appeared to get good news on the injury front Thursday when nose tackle Linval Joseph, who has missed the past two games with a foot injury, returned to practice on a limited basis.

EDEN PRAIRIE - The Vikings appeared to get good news on the injury front Thursday when nose tackle Linval Joseph, who has missed the past two games with a foot injury, returned to practice on a limited basis.

Coach Mike Zimmer didn’t rule out Joseph playing Sunday against Chicago at TCF Bank Stadium.

“He’s feeling better,” Zimmer said.

Defensive end Everson Griffen missed a second consecutive day of practice because of a shoulder injury but said he expects to play against the Bears.

“I’m going to practice (Friday) and see how it feels, but I’m going to be playing,” Griffen said. “I should be good.”

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Linebacker Anthony Barr’s status remains uncertain. Barr, who sat out Dec. 10 at Arizona because of a groin injury, hasn’t practiced all week.

The Vikings could have both starting safeties, Harrison Smith and Andrew Sendejo, back against the Bears. Smith, who sat out against the Cardinals with a hamstring injury, was a limited participant the past two days, and Sendejo, who has missed the past two games with a knee injury, has practiced all week.

Smith sat out the Nov. 29 game at Atlanta with a knee injury before being hurt again early in 38-7 loss to Seattle on Dec. 6. He said he has been encouraged by his two days of practice but isn’t sure if he’ll play Sunday.

Also not practicing Thursday were wide receiver Charles Johnson (ankle) and defensive end Scott Crichton, who suffered a concussion and neck injury against the Cardinals. Johnson had practiced Wednesday.

Joseph, a Pro Bowl candidate, hurt his left big toe against the Falcons. His replacement, Sharrif Floyd, joked this week about willing to give up a toe to get Joseph back.

“I’d give him one instead of Sharrif,” Zimmer cracked Thursday.

Meanwhile, offensive coordinator Norv Turner defended his play call in the waning seconds against Arizona, which essentially ended the game on a Teddy Bridgewater fumble.

Trailing 23-20 with 13 seconds left and no timeouts, Minnesota faced third-and-10 at the Cardinals’ 31-yard line. Rather than line up Blair Walsh for a game-tying kick, Turner and Zimmer opted to try getting closer.

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Bridgewater, waiting for his receivers to get to the right sideline, was sacked by linebacker Dwight Freeney and fumbled. The Cardinals recovered to seal the victory.

“We’ve got a lot of sideline plays,” Turner said. “This is one that’s worked for us last year; it’s worked for us in the past. We never have a sideline play where we don’t have a quick outlet. Adrian (Peterson) was the quick outlet.

“The way they defended the play, if we had it to do over again, we would have thrown the ball over Adrian’s head and kicked the field goal.”

Turner called it a “good play” but added, “I think everyone will learn from that play.”

Related Topics: MINNESOTA VIKINGS
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