Linval Joseph returns to practice, expected to play against Seattle

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There was a big part of the Vikings defense back at practice Wednesday as the team began preparations for its NFC wildcard playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks.

Nose tackle Linval Joseph returned to practice. He has been held out since the Vikings beat the New York Giants on Dec. 27 because of a foot injury that has bothered him for more than a month.

Joseph has missed four of the Vikings last five games, including their 38-7 loss to Seattle on Dec. 6. His return to practice could be a sign the run stuffer has no plans to miss the game against the Seahawks this time around.

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Vikings coach Mike Zimmer seemed confident that Joseph would be able to go on Sunday. Zimmer told reporters Wednesday that Joseph was held out of the Green Bay game to save him for the playoffs.

The Pioneer Press notes his ability to stop the run could really help the Vikings defense, which will be challenged by a Seattle's running attack that will feature the return of Marshawn Lynch.

Officially, the Vikings listed Joseph as a limited participant in practice, along with defensive end Everson Griffen who is recovering from a shoulder injury.

Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (low back) did not participate. Peterson left the Vikings' 20-13 victory over Green Bay on Sunday because of the injury, but he returned to the game after undergoing X-rays.

Fullback Zach Line (illness) and nose tackle Kenrick Ellis (ankle) also did not practice.

Receiver Adam Thielen (shoulder/low back) was a full participant on Wednesday.

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