It is the call that no coach wants to hear, but it could have been much worse. That was the opinion of new Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer to learning that his defensive tackle Linval Joseph had been wounded in a shooting where he had been an innocent bystander. The AP reports that Zimmer’s quote on the matter was this: “Oh, my, God, and thank God he’s ok. He’s a terrific young man. He’s a good, good kid, and we have lots of good kids on this football team.”
Linval Joseph was actually with other teammates when a man opened fire outside a night club. Eight other people, zero Vikings, were also injured in the incident.
Linval Joseph returned to Vikings camp as of August 10. He participated in team meetings, but was held out of practice. The plan is to work him back slowly. He is expected to make a full recovery. Already he is walking around without crutches.
Some NFL players often get a reputation of being in bad places surrounded by the ‘wrong types of people.’ Joseph did about everything right in his night on the town. He was travelling with other Vikings, so he was not alone. The shooter seems to have behaved randomly. Perhaps one of the eight other victims were targeted, but Joseph was not the target. My hope is that people are not so quick to think that Joseph somehow caused his own injury by some choice that he made.
Meanwhile the Vikings will need a healthy Joseph back on the practice field in order to deal with the real problems that he was signed to address. One of those problems was running back Matt Forte of the Chicago Bears. Another one was eating space to free up Vikings pass rushers, now that they are without Jared Allen, who signed with the Bears in the off season.
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