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Vikings injuries: Hicks and Davenport closer, Cousins 'ahead of schedule'

"[Jordan Hicks] got some reps yesterday, he'll get more throughout and make a determination going into the weekend."

Kevin O'Connell was optimistic Wednesday about the potential returns for several of the Vikings' ailing playmakers ahead of the team's weekend NFC North clash with the Detroit Lions.

Linebacker Jordan Hicks told reporters Tuesday his hope is to be able to return Sunday. Hicks needed emergency surgery after the Vikings' Week 10 win over the New Orleans Saints due to compartment syndrome in his leg. Minnesota opened Hicks' 21-day practice window Tuesday, providing the opportunity for a return this Sunday.

O'Connell when asked if it was realistic that fans could see Hicks take the field this weekend said, "I think so."

"Really with that injury I think it goes back to how it was handled when it happened, the urgency. ... It's probably given him the opportunity to have a realistic chance to be out there," O'Connell continued. "We'll let him work through the week. He got some reps yesterday, he'll get more throughout and make a determination going into the weekend. I do know Jordan wants to be out there more than anything. We'll see how he handles the week."

Hicks was a full participant in the team's Wednesday practice.

Ty Chandler's breakout performance in Saturday's loss eased any lingering worries about the running game. Chandler was called upon to carry much of the load Saturday after Alexander Mattison was ruled out with an ankle injury he picked up in the Vikings' win over the Raiders.

"Alex is doing better and better," O'Connell said. "Hopefully [we can] get him a little more work and possibly have him available this weekend. I know Ty [Chandler] is coming off a great performance and he's feeling more and more confident. We're building with the mindset that Ty is going to be a guy we get the ball to a lot, both in the run and pass. 

"If we can have Alex that's going to be a huge bonus in the depth and making sure we have our full group available. I do like what we've done in the run game the past couple weeks."

Mattison did not practice Wednesday and neither did starting right tackle Brian O'Neill, who also has an ankle injury. O'Connell said the tackle is "working through it" but sounded less confident about O'Neill being available Sunday.

"Hopefully we can get him some work throughout the week. It might go all the way up until game time whether we can truly see if he can go or not," he said. "Would love to have him back. Having him back out there would be huge."

Kirk Cousins told ESPN's Adam Schefter in a recent podcast appearance, that his wife jokingly stated he could possibly be back from an Achilles tear if the Vikings made a run to the Super Bowl. O'Connell was hesitant to go that far but did say that Cousins has said he "feels ahead of schedule" as he works back from his season-ending injury.

Marcus Davenport has been in the injury room after he needed surgery to repair a high-ankle sprain in the Vikings' Week 6 win over the Bears. The Vikings head coach didn't provide much on an eventual return, stating Davenport "continues to work through it."

"It's kind of a week-to-week thing. He has progressed well through the rehab. What that looks like, as far as when we can possibly open his window and maybe get him back. We are getting later on in the season," O'Connell said. "Hopefully we can get him back at some point. I just can't tell you right now when that's going to be. These injuries can be tricky."

The Vikings listed six players as not participating in Wednesday's practice.

Star edge rusher Danielle Hunter was absent due to illness. Starting cornerback Byron Murphy sat out due to a knee injury, and defensive tackle Harrison Phillips was out with a back injury. Wide receiver Jalen Nailor continues to work through the concussion protocol and missed Wednesday's practice.

Defensive linemen Sheldon Day and Jonathan Bullard were both limited with ankle injuries.