The San Francisco 49ers will receive their veteran pass rusher back in the lineup on Saturday as they prepare to host the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Divisional Round. Dee Ford has played just four snaps since Week 11 and missed San Francisco's final three games of the season with an aggravated hamstring injury.
Ford conditioned on the sidelines during the 49ers Bye week and was a limited participant leading up to Saturday. The 49ers are likely to limit the edge rusher's snaps as a precaution, given his most recent comeback in Week 14 against the New Orleans Saints.
"We're trying to be smarter about it and I think Dee is also," Kyle Shanahan said of Ford's hamstring. "It's tough for athletes in these situations. They want to play no matter what. When we look back at New Orleans, I think Dee was a little bit tight before the game. He knows how much we're counting on him to go out. He's not going to come up and just say, 'Hey coach, I'm a little tight.' No one totally knows. He thought he could go."
Ford's return can't be overstated when it comes to the production of the 49ers defensive line. According to Pro Football Focus, the 49ers defeat 63.2 percent of their blocks when Ford is on the field, ranked second-best in the league. Without him, that percentage drops to 47 percent, ranked 16th.
Guard Mike Person is expected to return to the starting lineup against the Vikings. Person served as a backup to Daniel Brunskill in Weeks 16 and 17 while dealing with a sore neck. It's worth noting that the entire 49ers roster is healthy and available against Minnesota, including Jaquiski Tartt, who missed four weeks with a rib injury and the highly-anticipated return of Kwon Alexander.
As for Minnesota, Adam Thielen is expected to play on Saturday. The wideout was listed as questionable on the team's final injury report after suffering a cut on his ankle during Wednesday's practice. Thielen received stitches and will wear protective padding for Saturday's game.
Here's a look at the full inactives ahead of kickoff.