By Mike Max

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Harrison Smith, Anthony Barr and Linval Joseph still are not practicing. They are at Winter Park trying to get healthy enough to be in the lineup for Sunday’s game against Chicago.

Joseph is interesting because he does so much for the defensive line. When he’s not in the lineup, he’s trying to help coach on the sidelines.

Linval Joseph is big and strong, and a force. You can credit some of it to year two in the system.

“Like I said second year in the system, like I’ve been saying this whole year just having one year under your belt. Everybody is coming together, everybody is playing team ball. Everybody has a drive to win,” Joseph said.

Credit more of it to his stature.

“He’s a 320-pound beast of a human being and he’s good at what he does: Being strong,” Sharrif Floyd said.

What he’s done is change things for the defensive line, a unit uniquely tied to one another.

“When somebody is doing their job, you have Everson Griffen or Brian Robison or Sharrif, when everybody is doing their job, it’s hard to focus on one person. Now you have four or five guys that you have to look for and that’s when the pressure comes off,” Joseph said. “Now everybody has an opportunity to make plays.”

That’s the idea. Make it easier for others by making it difficult on the opponent.

“He’s an awesome guy. He’s one of the best nose tackles in the game,” Griffen said. “He’s proven that week in and week out and I love playing next to the guy. He’s a freak.”

And when he’s reduced to not playing because of injury, he still wants to participate as a bit of a coach.

“Whatever it takes, whatever it takes. Now I get to see the game from a different aspect if I’m not playing it. Watch from the sidelines and when I see something I just let the guys know what I see and they can tell me what they feel and what’s going on. Hopefully we can get it done.”

Mike Max