Linval Joseph back with Vikings

Joseph

MANKATO, Minn. -- Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Linval Joseph, who was hit in the calf by a stray bullet during a nightclub shooting in Minneapolis early Saturday morning, returned to Vikings training camp on Sunday and is expected to be ready for the start of the regular season.

Joseph was near the back of 400 Soundbar in Minneapolis with teammates several hours after the Vikings' first preseason game when a shooter opened fire, wounding a total of nine people. Police called the shooting gang-related, saying the shooter was targeting one of the victims.

In a statement on Sunday, the Vikings said Joseph was an innocent bystander to the shooting, and was released from the hospital on Saturday.

On Sunday, coach Mike Zimmer said Joseph was walking around without crutches.

"He's pretty good, really, for the most part," Zimmer said. "He was in the meeting this morning and paying attention to what corrections he needs to make when he was playing. He's a fairly quiet guy anyway so I'm sure it shook him up like it shook all of us up. He's a very high-character, high-quality young man."

In a statement released by the Vikings on Sunday, Joseph said, "I appreciate everyone's thoughts and concerns over the past 24 hours. 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."

The shooting came after Zimmer's first game as the Vikings coach -- and it meant Zimmer's first morning after the Vikings' preseason opener started with a phone call to give him the news.

The coach said he's talked with players regularly about being aware of their surroundings, and making sure they're looking out for one another when they're out in public.

""It was, 'Oh, my God. And thank God he's OK.' He's a terrific young man. He's a good, good kid and we have a lot of good kids on this football team," Zimmer said. "[General manager] Rick [Spielman] has done a really good job of bringing high-quality, high-character players in here, which is one of the things I talk to them about all the time. We want to represent the fans and the state of Minnesota and the Twin Cities as people that want to be known as Vikings and good guys. Unfortunately, this was an unfortunate incident that happened."

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