The San Francisco 49ers are possibly at the healthiest they have been in weeks coming off of a first-round bye in the 2020 Playoffs. For the first time since the start of the season, all 53 players were on hand for the 49ers final practice of the week heading into Saturday's Divisional Round game against the Minnesota Vikings.
The 49ers plan to activate linebacker Kwon Alexander ahead of the 1:00 p.m. deadline for roster moves on Friday. Alexander returned to practice last week after being cleared by the 49ers medical staff following a Week 9 pectoral tear. The team will have to make a corresponding move on Friday to make space for Alexander on the roster.
Offensive lineman Mike Person (neck), defensive lineman Kentavius Street (knee) and edge rusher Dee Ford (hamstring) were all limited in practice leading up to Saturday. Person and safety Jaquiski Tartt are both expected to play according to head coach Kyle Shanahan. Street and Ford are the only 49ers who were ruled as questionable heading into the Divisional Round. Ford has been nursing an aggravated hamstring from the Week 14 win against the New Orleans Saints.
"We did wait longer. We're trying to be smarter about it and I think Dee is also," 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.
The way Dee Ford comes off the ball. It was the fourth play of the game, he came off hard and he tweaked his hamstring again. Now we can look back and Dee can learn from that and I can learn from that, too. I hope Dee, if he feels that tight, he can come tell me and now I know from that history of what happened in New Orleans, 'If you're feeling like that, well I know what that means.' Then we have to make a decision whether we want to make that gamble or not."
Meanwhile, the Vikings are dealing with their own set of unknowns as stud receiver Adam Thielen was listed as questionable on the team's final injury report heading into Saturday. Thielen was on hand, however did not practice in the final workout ahead of gameday after suffering a cut on his ankle during Wednesday's practice. The wideout received stitches and expects to be on hand for Saturday's Divisional Round game.
"I just got a little tangled up in practice but I'm going to do whatever it takes. It's playoffs," Thielen said on NFL Network Thursday. "I'm going to do whatever it takes to be out there on Saturday with my teammates."
Fellow receiver Stefon Diggs missed two days of practice this week with an illness before making a return on Thursday. According to ESPN reporter Courtney Cronin, Diggs feels confident he'll be ready to go on Saturday.
"Even if I was 30 percent, I would be out there," Diggs told Cronin. "I mean, it's football, and it's that time of the year. Nothing's going to be perfect. A lot of guys have got bumps and bruises, and I won't let a little flu keep me from the game."
Cornerback Mackensie Alexander has officially been ruled out with a knee injury. Alexander suffered a meniscus tear in Minnesota's Week 17 contest against the Chicago Bears which will force him to miss his second-straight playoff game. In addition to Alexander, safety Jayron Kearse (toe, knee) is listed as doubtful.
|DL Dee Ford (Hamstring/Quadricep) Questionable||CB Mackensie Alexander (Knee) Out|
|OL Mike Person (Neck) Not Listed||S Jayron Kearse (Toe/Knee) Doubtful|
|LB Elijah Lee (Illness) Not Listed||WR Adam Thielen (Ankle) Questionable|
|DL Kentavius Street (Knee) Questionable|