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Vikings prepare for home stretch with largely healthy team

Los Angeles Rams v Minnesota Vikings

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 19: Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer shakes hands with a line of Vikings players before the game against the Los Angeles Rams on November 19, 2017 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

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The Vikings paid their annual short-week bill seven days ago, on Thanksgiving in Detroit. With three more days to go before starting a key NFC South tour with visits to Atlanta and Carolina, the Vikings are mostly healthy -- and definitely more healthy than most teams.

The Wednesday injury report has only three names: linebacker Eric Kendricks (hip) did not practice, right tackle Mike Remmers (back) practiced on a limited basis, and safety Andrew Sendejo (groin) fully participated in practice.

Yes, the Vikings otherwise have had their share of significant injury issues, from the one-and-done disappearance of Sam Bradford to the non-contact, season-ending ACL injury suffered by Dalvin Cook. But as the season enters the home stretch, with everyone playing five games in the next 31 days, the Vikings are in good shape.

Changes made by their head coach from 2016 to 2017 may have had something to do with that. The day after Minnesota’s 30-23 win over the Lions, defensive end Everson Griffen explained on PFT Live that Mike Zimmer has indeed been doing things differently.

“He’s been taking good care of us,” Griffen said. “He’s been taking care of our bodies more. I’m a firm believer that if your team is capable of taking the pads off and still going out there and competing and being physical. . . . All that banging in practice is necessary sometimes, but it’s the National Football League. . . . I can really, say, that yeah he’s been doing a good job of taking care of us and letting us be more fresher. The brain rules everything. If your brain is dead it doesn’t matter how good your body is. Your brain will just completely tell your body, ‘Don’t go.’”

The bodies and the brains of the Vikings currently seem to be doing pretty well. But it’s all subject to change, and even with only five games left, plenty of change is still coming to the overall positioning process of postseason berths.