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Injury updates: Tracy Walker already doing on-field drills at Lions offseason program

The Detroit Lions safety—and captain—looks like he’s nearly fully recovered from his torn Achilles.

NFL: SEP 25 Lions at Vikings Photo by Bailey Hillesheim/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Detroit Lions safety Tracy Walker has been documenting his recovery from an Achilles injury suffered in Week 3 of last season. This week, it appears his rehabilitation took an enormous step during the team’s offseason activities at Allen Park. As captured in the photo gallery provided by the team website, Walker is not just rehabbing anymore or lifting weights. He’s out there on the practice field doing on-field drills with the rest of his teammates.

It appears we can likely take Walker at his word when he said back in March that his Achilles was “close to being 100%.” And at this time, there’s no reason to believe he’ll miss any time this year, and could even be ready for full participation during Organized Team Activities at the end of May. Being ready for training camp almost seems like a given.

Last year, the Lions gave Walker three-year, $25 million deal to stay in Detroit. Upon signing the contract, Walker was told by coach Dan Campbell, “You’re one of the core.”

Having that core will be essential to Detroit’s defense in 2023, especially now that the Lions have complemented Walker with a talented cast of defensive backs. This offseason they signed cornerback Cameron Sutton and Emmanuel Moseley, while adding two versatile nickel/safety hybrids in C.J. Gardner-Johnson and second-round pick Brian Branch.

Those additions—plus Walker’s healthy—has the potential to propel what was one of the worst pass defenses in the league last year into a much more respectable unit.

Other note: In addition to Walker participating on the field, the Lions photo gallery also gave us our first look at Halapoulivaati Vaitai. The veteran guard missed all of 2022 after having back surgery, but the fact that he’s now lifting is a strong side he, too, will be ready for this season. Vaitai could be in for a starting role this year at right guard after the Lions opted not to cut Vaitai in favor of agreeing upon a paycut.

Lions general manager Brad Holmes previously gave an optimistic update on Vaitai’s condition.

“He’s in a good place,” Holmes said in March. “We just got some recent reports back that he’s in a really good place.”

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