Dec 22, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Giants defensive tackle Linval Joseph (97) against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Linval Joseph Back at Practice, Vikings Nearly At Full Strength

Linval Joseph is a man of his word. He said he’d be ready for the season opener, and there he was on Monday back at practice for the Vikings, preparing to take the field against the Rams this Sunday as promised.

Joseph missed most of the preseason after being hit in the leg by a stray bullet during a shooting in a downtown Minneapolis nightclub, but there is no sign of any lingering physical difficulty related to that incident.

The Vikings overall are pretty healthy. Mike Zimmer said Monday that only linebacker Brandon Watts is likely to miss this weekend’s opener.

Like Joseph, starters Phil Loadholt and Anthony Barr are both working their way back from preseason injuries, but they appear to be on-track for the Rams game as well.

Wide receiver Adam Thielen was injured on a suspicious-looking play in the first half of the final preseason game but he also appears to be a go for St. Louis. Ditto Rodney Smith who was injured fielding an onside kick late in the third preseason game.

That puts the Vikings at nearly full-strength for their first test of the regular season. Mike Zimmer will have almost all hands on deck when he makes his debut as a head coach on Sept. 7 in St. Louis.

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