Vikings 'hopeful' of healthy defense for next game

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) The Minnesota Vikings are hopeful their defense will be healthy again when they play next.

After losing at Arizona on Thursday night with four starters and two backups absent because of injuries, the Vikings have nine days to recover before hosting Chicago on Dec. 20.

Coach Mike Zimmer said Friday was too soon to determine whether nose tackle Linval Joseph, linebacker Anthony Barr, and safeties Harrison Smith and Andrew Sendejo would be back to play the Bears. But Zimmer said he received a ''pretty good report'' from the athletic training staff and was ''hopeful'' of their return. Sendejo is the closest to being cleared.

Linebacker Brandon Watts and safety Antone Exum were also out against the Cardinals, forcing cornerback Terence Newman to play safety.



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