The Vikings could get two defensive tackles back for Sunday's game in Detroit.
Nose tackle Michael Pierce returned to Wednesday's practice, which was shortened to a walkthrough by coach Mike Zimmer, as he was officially designated for return from injured reserve. He's eligible to return Sunday, and the Vikings play five days later against the Steelers on Thursday, Dec. 9. Coaches are "backing down" on practice reps.
"We've been checking the east coast, west coast, east coast," Zimmer said Wednesday. "We've had some pretty physical games, overtime, things like that, so we're just backing down."
Defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson also has a chance to return after testing positive for COVID-19 on Nov. 23. Tomlinson, who is unvaccinated, is out a minimum 10 days, a requirement that will be fulfilled by Thursday.
"Hopefully they can continue to progress," co-coordinator Andre Patterson said, "and get out there and play for us on Sunday. It would be great to get those guys back. They're both tremendous players. You know how excited I was about Mike after the first couple of games."
Pierce hasn't played since exiting the Oct. 3 loss to the Browns with an elbow injury he first suffered in combination with a shoulder injury during a Sept. 30 practice. The team's top 2020 free-agent signing, Pierce has played four games for the Vikings after he opted out for medical reasons last year.