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Baltimore Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta is expected to take the field this Sunday for the first time this year after dislocating and fracturing his hip in July. It's the perfect time of the season for Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco to get his weapon of choice back—they are 6-6, have a tenuous hold on the AFC's sixth playoff spot and are still in contention to win the AFC North division.
On Wednesday, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said he was "hopeful" that Pitta would make his debut this week against the Minnesota Vikings. Offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell said on Thursday that Pitta had gotten more work on the practice field this week. Harbaugh reiterated his hopefulness on Friday, saying there's a "reasonable" chance that Pitta will play this week.
All of this points to Pitta being part of Baltimore's 46-man game-day roster on Sunday at the earliest and for next week's contest against the Detroit Lions at the latest.
Pitta's return would be a shot in the arm for Baltimore's 19th-ranked passing offense, which is averaging 227.9 yards per game. Their leading tight end presently is Dallas Clark, who has 31 catches on 52 targets for 343 yards and three touchdowns. That pales in comparison to Pitta's 2012 regular-season numbers, with 93 targets, 61 catches, 669 yards and seven scores.