The Lions have only seen what defensive end Ziggy Ansah can do in the Lions' new defense for a total of 19 snaps this season.
Ansah injured a shoulder in the second quarter of Detroit's Week 1 contest vs. the New York Jets, and hasn't played since. That's been a stretch of 26 consecutive quarters the Lions have played this season without their franchise tag player and arguably best defensive lineman.
But the wait for Ansah's return has reached its conclusion. The former Pro Bowler is active in a crucial NFC North matchup in Minnesota vs. the Vikings.
Ansah has been limited at practice for weeks, but was noticeably doing more during the open portion of practice the last week. He was listed as questionable heading into this contest.
"He's right in the mix right now with all of it," Patricia said Friday, when asked about Ansah. "It's kind of that day-by-day statement that we make, because it is.
"You want to go out and see him be able to produce in practice and function at a level where A, he can protect himself and B, he can do what you need him to do and then be able to come in the next day and still feel like he's moving in the right direction with that."
The Lions obviously feel good about where Ansah's shoulder is at in that regard, and he's ready to return today against quarterback Kirk Cousins and the Vikings' sixth-ranked passing offense.
Also active today for the Lions is cornerback Darius Slay, who showed up on Friday's practice report with a knee injury. His active status is obviously huge for the Lions today facing this potent passing game.
On offense, the Lions will get back running back Theo Riddick, who missed the last two games due to a knee injury. He's one of the best receiving backs in the league, and with Detroit no longer employing Golden Tate, their top weapon on third down this year, getting Riddick back healthy could be a boost for the Lions on third down.
Veteran guard T.J. Lang is also active. He was questionable coming in with a hip injury.
The one player the Lions knew they'd be without today is reserve linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin (neck/toe). The team downgraded him from doubtful to out on Saturday.
Joining him on the Lions' inactive list today are: Defensive end Kerry Hyder Jr., running back Ameer Abdullah, defensive end Eric Lee, guard Joe Dahl, tackle Andrew Donnal and linebacker Kelvin Sheppard.
Receivers TJ Jones, Brandon Powell and Andy Jones are all active today as the Lions play their first game since trading Tate earlier this week.