As the Minnesota Vikings inch closer to the bye week, it appears that it will be coming at the right time. While most of the Vikings' injury woes have been centered around the loss of Adam Thielen, another growing concern is the availability of nose tackle Linval Joseph.
After getting in a limited practice last Wednesday, Joseph missed Thursday and Friday's sessions before sitting out the Vikings' win over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night. As the dust settled from the 28-24 victory, it appears that Joseph's situation wasn't a quick fix as he underwent knee surgery on Monday.
According to Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune, Joseph's knee injury isn't severe and the lynchpin of the Vikings interior will return "in the near future." That's something that head coach Mike Zimmer hinted at during Monday's press conference.
"I don't know yet," Zimmer said when asked about a potential timetable for Joseph's recovery. "He could be back this week. We'll see."
Even if it is a brief absence for Joseph, it still will be felt throughout the defense even after it shut down Ezekiel Elliott for just 47 yards on Sunday night.
If it does take a little longer, more pressure will be put on backup Jaleel Johnson, who had a solid game against the Cowboys.
"[Johnson] played really well," Zimmer said. "First play of the game he tried to maybe come off a block a little bit too soon on the first run, but then after that, he was really good. I thought he played hard, played good. He pushed the pocket a couple times. I thought he did well."
After battling injury woes for most of 2018, Joseph is in the midst of a fine rebound season, recording more tackles for loss (five) then he had all of last season (four). He also has tripled his sack total from last year with three in the Vikings' first nine games.
If there is a silver lining, it's that the Vikings still have their bye in front of them. After facing a Denver Broncos team they should be able to beat without Joseph, he should have an extra week to heal up before a big NFC showdown with the Seattle Seahawks on Dec. 2.