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Facing Quick Turnaround, Vikings Emphasizing Rest, Recovery

EAGAN, Minn. — Expect the training room to be crowded at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center this week.

The Vikings are roughly 24 hours removed from a key road win Sunday at Detroit, but their focus — both mentally and physically — has already shifted to Washington.

With two games in essentially four days, Vikings players are honed in on making sure their bodies feel good enough to play on such a short turnaround.

Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter was among the players who didn’t waste any time, as he posted a video on Instagram Sunday night that showed him in the hot tub at the team facility.

“It’s a quick turnaround. It’s important we get into the tubs and get our bodies ready,” Hunter said. “You do as much as you can to get ourselves ready for Thursday.

“Just spend more time getting recovery in,” Hunter added. “Go in the training room, the tubs and all that. Just make sure you get all your nicks and bruises ready for Thursday.”

Vikings running back Dalvin Cook said Sunday afternoon that he usually relaxes and watches other NFL games after Vikings games.

But much like Hunter, he was at TCO Performance Center on Sunday night. Cook said he will stick to his usual methods to get physically prepared, but added everything is condensed into a few days.

“We don’t really have the days to get as much preparation in and let our bodies recover as much as we usually do,” Cook said Monday in the Vikings locker room. “So, it’s important that we got on top of that [Sunday] when we got back, today and the rest of the day, it’s important for us to recover quickly this week.

“[I] just kind of speed the schedule up a little bit more with the things I really do as far as taking care of my body,” Cook added. “I just implemented my routine after the game [Sunday].”

Added Vikings fullback C.J. Ham: “It’s just the normal stuff, get your massages, acupuncture, cupping, stretching, whatever that is. Just making sure that you’re getting those things in, because those definitely help the body recovery, and with the game in a couple days, you kind of have to force yourself to be ready.”

Among those who will be in the training room include wide receiver Adam Thielen, who left Sunday’s win over the Lions with a hamstring injury and didn’t return.

Thielen said Sunday that he was hopeful he could play Thursday against Washington.

“You definitely go in [Sunday] and get treatment and do what you can, and you try to get as much extra treatment as you possibly can leading into a short week,” Thielen said.

Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks said neither team will have an excuse on a short week.

“Our bodies are sore. But that’s for both teams,” Kendricks. “We have to get right.”

He added there is a balance this week of trying to get healthy, but also cramming on how to defend Washington’s offense.

“We came in this morning and got treatment and things like that … ice tubs. Just the normal stuff, honestly,” Kendricks said. “You just have to try and maximize the time you have between film study and getting your body right.

“That’s the thing … we don’t know what we’re going to see,” Kendricks added. “We’re going to meetings in a second, and we have to start honing in and erase everything we processed last night. We have to start fresh, start new. Learn a whole new offense in a really condensed time.”

While the players mentioned above have endured the rigors of playing two games in less than a week, there are 11 rookies on the roster who are experiencing it for the first time.

Tight end Irv Smith, Jr. said he’s leaning on veterans to help him feel fresh for Thursday’s primetime game against Washington.

“This is the quickest turnaround for sure, but I just try to talk to the older guys, see what they’ve done to be successful with a short week like this,” said Smith, Jr., who turned 21 in August. “My legs are a little fresher than guys who have been in the league 10-plus years. But I still try to take care of my body like a pro.”

Vikings DE Everson Griffen and TE Kyle Rudolph help show off the team's former Color Rush uniforms, now called Primetime Purple, that the team will wear for the Thursday, Oct. 24 game against the Redskins at U.S. Bank Stadium. Click here to order your Primetime Purple jersey from the Vikings Locker Room store.

The Vikings have played a Thursday game on short rest in each of Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer’s first five seasons in Minnesota, going 1-4 in such games.

The Vikings were on Thursday Night Football for three of those contests. [The Vikings played in Detroit on Thanksgiving in 2016 on four days’ rest and played on Thursday Night Football the following week]. Minnesota returned to the Motor City and won in 2017.

Zimmer was excited to finally have a home game on a short week when the schedule was announced in April.

Home teams have fared well on Thursday Night Football, as teams who don’t have to travel are 45-31 in TNF games since the beginning of the 2014 season.

“We have to get ready on a short week and get back to U.S. Bank Stadium and get our crowd involved,” Zimmer said.

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Get Your Primetime Purple Jersey

The Vikings will wear their Primetime Purple jersey, Thursday, Oct. 24 against the Redskins. Visit the Vikings Locker Room Team Store to buy your Primetime Purple jersey today!

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