The wait is finally over. Ezekiel Ansah will make his return in Week 9 against the Minnesota Vikings. The Lions’ Pro Bowl defensive end is finally active for the first time since suffering a Week 1 shoulder injury in the first half against the Jets. Initial reports suggested Ansah may not miss any time at all, but it has taken a full two months for him to finally get healthy enough for the Lions to have confidence in his ability to play.
It was an odd ongoing saga, because Ansah continues to practice nearly every day. The only practices Ansah missed since suffering the injury was in Week 4, where it is assumed he suffered some sort of setback with the injury.
This week, head coach Matt Patricia expressed confidence Ansah was heading in the right direction.
“We’re making progress, but it’s still day-by-day,” Patricia said on Friday.
With Ansah back in the lineup, the Lions may be able to take advantage of a Vikings offensive line that is struggling. He’ll likely often line up opposite former teammate and Minnesota’s current left tackle, Riley Reiff, who has been battling a foot injury of his own—he is also active for Sunday.
Elsewhere, as expected, Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs is OUT with a rib injury, and Darius Slay is IN despite being a late addition to the injury report (knee).
Xavier Rhodes, who was battling both a foot and an ankle injury, will try and give it a go this week. The Vikings No. 1 cornerback has struggled this year, but is easily the team’s most-talented corner.
Here’s a list of both team’s inactives:
LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin
DE Kerry Hyder Jr.
OG Joe Dahl
OT Andrew Donnal
RB Ameer Abdullah
LB Kelvin Sheppard
DE Eric Lee
LB Anthony Barr
G Tom Compton
RB Roc Thomas
DE Tashawn Bower
QB Kyle Sloter
S Andrew Sendejo
WR Stefon Diggs