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49ers hope to have pair of anticipated returns against Vikings



© Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Ahead of what figures to be the most consequential game of the season, the 49ers received some positive injury news and made a couple of practice squad additions.

For context, a win against the Vikings, who currently lead the 49ers in the playoff standings, would give San Francisco the tiebreaker over them, and make it likely that they’d make the playoffs even going 3-3 in their final six games.

Kyle Shanahan said Wednesday that both Dre Greenlaw, who was placed on injured reserve September 18 with a core/groin injury, and Dee Ford, who went on injured reserve on November 6 with a back injury, are hoped to practice and be activated before Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings.

Shanahan said Greenlaw will practice Wednesday, while Ford won’t practice until Thursday; if he remains healthy, he’s expected to practice just two days a week.

Greenlaw’s return has become less pressing with the resurgence of Azeez Al-Shaair, but still provides significant, quality linebacker depth. Shanahan said last week that it’s unlikely he’ll unseat Al-Shaair in the short term.

Ford, meanwhile, was a nebulous case. His back situation is completely unpredictable; he could have been out three weeks or the entire season. Fortunately for the 49ers, it was the former. His return, though it will come with a snap count, will provide a significant pass-rushing boost that the team is generally missing, with the exception of Nick Bosa.

In other roster news, the 49ers signed corner Luq Barcoo and veteran, ex-Colts wide receiver Devin Funchess to practice squad, releasing receiver Austin Watkins Jr. to make room.