Now the only question about Marshawn Lynch for Sunday’s playoff game seems to be: Will his candy cane make the trip?
Lynch was a full practice participant for the second consecutive day, reinforcing the Seahawks’ belief he will start and have a full, normal workload on Sunday at Minnesota in the NFC wild-card playoffs. It will be his first game since Nov. 15. He had abdominal surgery Nov. 25.
The only Seahawk returning from injury that did not practice Thursday on the team’s indoor field (with the door open to help keep cold air in to prepare for Minnesota) was Luke Willson. The tight end is trying to come back from a concussion but his absence Thursday suggest he is iffy at best to play at Minnesota. Cooper Helfet would start again for Willson; Chase Coffman and Will Tukuafu would again rise in prominence as backups. Coffman had his first touchdown last weekend at Arizona in his first Seahawks game, and Tukuafu, a usual fullback, had his second career TD catch.
NFL rushing champion Adrian Peterson missed his second consecutive Vikings practice with a sore lower back, but all reports out of Minnesota say he will play Sunday. The Vikings giving him the ball far more than the eight times (for season-low 18 yards) Peterson got it Dec. 6 in Seattle’s 38-7 win in Minneapolis will be an obvious factor Sunday.
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The Vikings are going to have four starters back on defense that were injured when Seattle won that game last month. The most prominent are safety Harrison Smith, a key to the Vikings’ 17th-ranked run defense, playmaking outside linebacker Anthony Barr and tackle Linval Joseph, an anchor to the Vikings’ defensive line.
Asked if this game will be different for that reason alone, Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said: “No question. When you’re missing three starters, then it has an effect on any team. Those are some really solid players for them, they really missed Smith in the back end, he’s a really nice ball hog. He searches for the ball, has great ball skills. Plays from sideline to sideline so he makes a lot of nice plays for them. Barr is really their leader there in the linebacking corps, so you miss guys like those guys it has an impact on their defense.”
Here are the practice reports from each team: