Football / Sports

Linval Joseph says he is 'extremely thankful' to escape major injury at nightclub shooting

Nose tackle Linval Joseph is back with the Vikings in Mankato after being shot in the calf at a nightclub early Saturday. He attended the morning meetings with teammates and is said to be in good spirits.

Joseph was not at the special-teams-only morning walkthrough -- he wouldn't have been under normal circumstances -- and was not made available to media, but he did release a statement through the team.

"I appreciate everyone's thoughts and concerns over the past 24 hours," said Joseph, who is in his first season with the Vikings after four with the Giants. "I am extremely thankful that this was a minor injury for me. As the team has communicated, this was an unfortunate situation where I, along with several others, was an innocent bystander to a senseless act. My thoughts are with all of the victims at this time. I am looking forward to getting back onto the field with my teammates in the near future."

General Manager Rick Spielman said the expectation is that Joseph will be ready for the season opener Sept. 7 against the St. Louis Rams, but the team shared no timetable for his return to practice.

"We expect him to make a full recovery and definitely be ready by the regular season," he said.

Head coach Mike Zimmer was stunned when he got the phone call and is relieved Joseph is OK.

"I thought 'Oh my God.' Thank God he is OK," he said. "He's a terrific young man. He's a good, good kid."

Both men reiterated what the Vikings said in a statement Saturday, that Joseph was an "innocent bystander" when a gunman opened fire early Saturday in a Minneapolis nightclub, shooting nine people, including Joseph.

"Coach Zimmer is always reminding our team just to make good decisions and be aware of your surroundings," Spielman said. "There was no wrong done by Linval and he just happened to be an innocent bystander."

(c)2014 Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

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