The San Francisco 49ers defense got a significant boost on Saturday with the return of linebacker Kwon Alexander, who was just 10 weeks removed from the torn pectoral muscle that landed him on injured reserve.

His defensive teammates weren't the only ones who felt Alexander's presence in the game. So did the Vikings offense, who couldn't manage to capitalize on the athletic linebacker's first game back since October.

"I thought Kwon did a real good job," head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters on Monday. "I knew he was going to be fired up to get out there. I'm always nervous for guys when they are that excited to get out there, and they haven't played in a while. You knew he was going to run around and hit. He also did a good job of not making mistakes. He kept his poise on the field.

"You can feel his speed out there. I thought he made a number of plays on the screens and stuff, and even when he didn't, just making backs come to a complete stop and having to change their course where then the pursuit of the rest of our defense can get him. It ends up being a three-yard gain where it would have been eight. That all adds up to third down."

Alexander was in on 25 of the 49ers' 46 defensive snaps against the Vikings. Will his workload ramp up for the NFC Championship Game against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday? That will depend on this week's practices.

"We'll look at it each week," Shanahan explained. "We'll see how this week in practice goes. Kwon is a guy we like out there.

"Right now, there is one game left, and if we win this, then we have one more. There's two possible games, and the more time, the better it allows him to heal. We will see how he is this week."

The 49ers defense suffocated the Vikings offense, allowing just 147 total yards, including a minuscule 21 rushing yards and seven total first downs.

Shanahan went on to discuss how Alexander's personality and character have made a positive influence on this year's 49ers squad.

"It's extremely real with Kwon," Shanahan said. "He's like that every second, and our guys gravitate to him. I think just the same way fans feel about him, that's how we feel about him.

"Kwon is ride or die in everything he does for this football team. He will go out there, he plays that way when he's healthy, he plays that way when he's hurt. He talks that way. He lives football. That's why his football character is one of the highest I've been around. That's just his character as a man, to me, is just that way too."

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