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Vikings DE Everson Griffen to play after missing five games

EAGAN, Minn. -- Everson Griffen is expected to be active and play on Sunday after being away from the Minnesota Vikings for the last five weeks.

According to the Vikings' team website, Griffen is slated to return to the lineup against the New Orleans Saints after practicing in full from Wednesday to Friday.

The Pro Bowl defensive end last appeared in Minnesota's Week 2 tie in Green Bay. Griffen was ruled out of the Buffalo game with a knee injury and then was placed under a health and welfare hold at a Minneapolis-area hospital on Sept. 22 after his alleged involvement in two separate incidents drew police involvement and concern over his mental health.

Griffen returned to team activities Wednesday and addressed the personal matters he's working through.

"This is bigger than football, this is part of the process," Griffen said. "We got a team, we got a good group of individuals, the Minnesota Vikings, the doctors, myself, my family, and we got a plan in place and we're going to execute that plan day-in and day-out, and we're going to stay on top of it. That's our goal. This is bigger than football, and it's part of the plan. I'm excited to be back."

It remains to be seen what type of role Griffen will play on Sunday, but the Vikings defense benefits from him being on the field. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Minnesota has been able to pressure opposing quarterbacks 35 percent of the time with Griffen on the field as opposed to 28 percent without him. Opposing team's yards per play shrinks from 6.0 to 4.7, while total QBR drops from 53 to 30 with Griffen in the game.

While Griffen is set to return, the Vikings will continue to be without several starters on offense and defense. Dalvin Cook (hamstring), Anthony Barr (hamstring), Tom Compton (knee) and Andrew Sendejo (groin) are ruled out for Sunday, while Riley Reiff (foot) is doubtful.

Linval Joseph (ankle/knee) and Xavier Rhodes (ankle) are listed as questionable.