Packers WR Nelson probable for Sunday's game
The Green Bay Packers are looking forward to the return of Jordy Nelson this weekend.
The availability of fellow receiver Randall Cobb for the regular-season finale at division rival Minnesota on Sunday is uncertain. While Nelson is probable to play after being out the last three games because of a hamstring injury, Cobb is questionable after he had limited work in practice Friday.
"We had a menu set for him as far as going through a workout," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "He was able to accomplish that. He did some (kick) returns. He took some practice reps. So we'll see how he is in the morning. He looked pretty good."
The Packers (11-4) would clinch the No. 2 seed in the NFC and a first-round bye in the playoffs by beating the Vikings (9-6), who are vying for a wild-card berth.
Cobb suffered ankle and knee injuries in Green Bay's 55-7 win over Tennessee last Sunday. The versatile second-year player leads the Packers in catches (80) and receiving yards (954), has eight touchdown receptions, has been utilized on run plays out of the backfield and also has been a big-play threat as a kick returner.
Cobb didn't talk to reporters after practice Friday afternoon.
"He looked like he was good," receiver Jeremy Ross said. "You can tell the injury is still present, but he looked like he was running pretty good."
Ross, a first-year player who has been on Green Bay's 53-man roster only four weeks, spent most of the week handling the kickoff and punt returns in practice as Cobb recovered. He had a 58-yard punt return in Cobb's absence against the Titans.
"If Randall's unable to perform, then I'll be the guy to do the returns (Sunday)," Ross said. "I would be excited to have that opportunity to get out (there) and take over the returns."
McCarthy expects to have Nelson back in the mix with Green Bay's talented receiving corps. The fifth-year player aggravated a hamstring injury in the first quarter of the Packers' 23-14 home win over Minnesota on Dec. 2.
"I feel good about Jordy Nelson," McCarthy said. "He's gone through a full week of work. Felt good this morning going through the medical evaluation, so I have no reason not to believe that he'll be ready to go Sunday."
McCarthy made it clear Friday his team is determined to beat the Vikings.
"Yesterday's padded practice was probably as spirited of a practice we've had in at least a month," McCarthy said. "Actually, I took the pads off for the last team period - I was a little concerned about it was a little too active. Our guys are ready. We're focused on beating the Vikings and sweeping the division."
Green Bay can become the first team to go undefeated against its division opponents in back-to-back seasons since the NFL went to a divisional format in 1967.
NOTES: Besides Nelson, RG Josh Sitton (concussion), C Evan Dietrich-Smith (knee), RB Alex Green (concussion), DE C.J. Wilson (knee) and K Mason Crosby (illness) are probable for Sunday. Wilson, a starter regarded for his run-stopping ability, has missed the last four games, including the first meeting against the Vikings when Adrian Peterson rushed for 210 yards. ... Veteran S Charles Woodson (collarbone), who hasn't played in more than two months, was ruled out earlier in the week. RB James Starks (knee) also remains out.
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