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Linval Joseph's Elliptical Routine Helps Make New Strides

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Linval Joseph towers over an elliptical machine.

Listed at 6-foot-4 and 329 pounds, the Vikings defensive tackle doesn't keep track of how many steps he takes or when minutes turn to hours. He does, however, believe that the stationary walker is getting him where he wants to go.

There's a bit of a running joke at Winter Park that the elliptical is "Joseph's office."

When told, he laughed, and said he'd take it a step further.

"I love the gym, I love the elliptical. It's my second home," Joseph said. "I come to work and spend more time here than at my house in season, so this whole place is my office.

"Just trying to keep my body moving, that's all it is," Joseph said. "When you get older, you want to keep moving."

He will turn 28 on Oct. 10, but is already in his seventh NFL season at a demanding position. A Florida weight-lifting champion in high school, Joseph has always been strong.

His reputation has grown stronger.

Vikings teammates often speak of his strength, and opponents are fairly aware as well. This week, when the Vikings (3-0) host his former team, the Giants (2-1), on *Monday Night Football, *players on both sides of the ball will be aware.

"Linval Joseph is probably one of the hardest-working guys," Giants guard Justin Pugh said. "Always in the weight room; probably one of the strongest guys in the NFL. Definitely got our work cut out for us. Obviously, playing against him last year, you can see that in the way he plays, and I think he's one of the best nose tackles in the NFL. It's an exciting challenge to go out there and go against a really good front on Monday Night Football, it's going to be fun."

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer, who noticed Joseph working out multiple times during walks through the weight room this offseason, said Joseph is "extremely strong" and "loves to do the dirty work."

"Linval is, number one, he's a big, strong, physical guy, but he's also a really good athlete and he's a great person," Zimmer said. "This kid does a lot of dirty work that a lot of people wouldn't want to do. A lot of people would rather get sacks and stuff like that, but he's happy playing the run and letting other guys do their deal."

So far this season, Joseph has provided the Vikings with the best of both. Joseph has stuffed the run and recorded a sack of an opposing quarterback each week.

He has 23 tackles (nine solo), 3.0 sacks, five tackles for loss, 10 quarterback hurries and a forced fumble for a defense that entered Week 4 leading the NFL with 15 sacks.

Years and years of stuffing the run have become a habit. Rushing the passer more within the team's overall plan is growing on Joseph, who split one sack in 2015 when he was chosen as the Vikings Defensive Player of the Year.

"I think he's taking a liking to it more," Zimmer said this week. "He's a guy that wants to try to play the run and power you in there and get his body on bodies. He's been in there a lot due to situations that we've been in. I think the more that he understands the situations in the game and turns it loose because he can rush the passer. He can be a very good pass rusher. It's just sometimes he has to be a little bit more, 'OK,' and just go. He knows it's a pass, but he still wants to play the run."  

Joseph, who along with former Giants teammate Justin Trattou are the only two Vikings players to win a Super Bowl, has in mind to keep things going to help the team, one step at a time.

"I feel like I'm where I need to be, strength-wise, weight-wise," Joseph said. "I say this every year. You just want to get better. You can only get better or worse. I'm here trying to get better and get everybody on this team better."

Boone's status?

A change went into effect this year to alter the way teams list injured players' statuses for upcoming games. The "probable" category was removed from injury reports, leaving "out," "doubtful" and "questionable."

Zimmer was asked if Alex Boone would be listed as probable under the former rules.

"I don't know, it's not the old rules," Zimmer said. "But, I'm assuming he will play, yes."  

Boone fully participated on Saturday, an improvement from being limited the day before and from not participating on Thursday. He suffered a hip injury in the second quarter at Carolina and was relieved by Jeremiah Sirles.

Know the New York Giants key contributors on offense, defense and special teams heading into Week 4's matchup.

Injuries

For the Vikings: Sharrif Floyd and David Morgan have been ruled out. They did not participate in practice this week. Jayron Kearse (tooth) was the only other player who did not practice Saturday.

For the Giants: Safety Nat Berhe (concussion), tackle Marshall Newhouse (calf), defensive tackle Robert Thomas (illness) and safety Darian Thompson (foot) have been ruled out. Cornerback Eli Apple (hamstring) also did not participate and is listed as doubtful. CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (groin) did not participate and is listed as questionable, along with RB Rashad Jennings, who was limited with a thumb injury.

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