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Zimmer hopes to have Rhodes, Barr back on field against Saints

EAGAN, Minn. -- Pro Bowl defenders Xavier Rhodes and Anthony Barr have sat out the past two days of practice, but Vikings coach Mike Zimmer remains optimistic they will play Sunday against New Orleans at U.S. Bank Stadium.

EAGAN, Minn. -- Pro Bowl defenders Xavier Rhodes and Anthony Barr have sat out the past two days of practice, but Vikings coach Mike Zimmer remains optimistic they will play Sunday against New Orleans at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Zimmer had said Wednesday the chances were “pretty good” of the two playing. He said Thursday that remains the case and the two are “doing really good.”

Rhodes, who has a sprained left ankle, and Barr, who has a right hamstring injury, were among five Minnesota starters not practicing Thursday after also not practicing Wednesday. Also out were running back Dalvin Cook (hamstring), guard Tom Compton (knee) and safety Andrew Sendejo (groin).

Listed as limited in practice Thursday were tackle Riley Reiff (foot) and nose tackle Linval Joseph (knee, ankle). Reiff has missed two straight games and Joseph one.

Rhodes, a cornerback, and Barr, a linebacker, both were hurt in the fourth quarter of last week’s 37-17 victory over the New York Jets. If Rhodes can’t play Sunday, he could be replaced by rookie Holton Hill. If Barr can’t play, the likely replacement would be Eric Wilson.

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Cook, who has missed four of the past five games, is unlikely to play Sunday and expected to be replaced again by Latavius Murray.

Compton, who was hurt in the first quarter against the Jets, could be replaced by Danny Isidora at left guard. And Sendejo, who has missed the past two games, could be replaced again by George Iloka.

Defensive end Everson Griffen was a full participant in practice Thursday for the second straight day after returning to the team Wednesday following a one-month absence because of a mental-health issue. Zimmer said he has made no determination on whether he will play Sunday.

Zimmer said Griffen “looks fine” in practice, but it does take some time to get back into the swing of things.

“Any time you miss four weeks or whatever it was, there’s a little bit of rust,” Zimmer said.

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