The Minnesota Vikings (12-4) will take on the Chicago Bears (3-13) with the hopes of the number two seed still alive.

Unfortunately, they will be without their starting right tackle Brian O’Neil (calf), potentially their starting even backup centers Garrett Bradburry (back) and Austin Schlottmann (fibula).

They will, however, see the return of a key offensive player. A playmaker who hasn’t played since Week eight and in the middle of his open practice window.

TE Irv Smith Jr. is to be activated off injured reserve in time for the Vikings playoff push.

Before suffering his injury, Smith was on pace for a career year in receptions, yards and potentially touchdowns.

His ankle injury suffered in Week eight resulted in the trade for TE TJ Hockenson. Which has turned into what might be the best trade of the NFL season.

Now back with the offense, the Minnesota Vikings offense will be able to run their full WR trio(Justin Jefferson, KJ Osborn, Adam Theilen)/ TE duo (Hockenson, Smith Jr) into the postseason.

It’s still uncertain if the Vikings will play Smith Jr. in the regular season finale, rather than save him for the wild card round. Unless of course they put him on a pitch count to help regain his feet and knock off the rust.

In either case, the Vikings will go into the playoffs with perhaps more offensive weapons at their disposal than any other NFC team.

Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker of USA TODAY Sports