When Kwon Alexander was placed on injured reserve on November 5, 2019, five days after suffering a torn pectoral muscle, no one thought they would see the San Francisco 49ers linebacker again this season. His rehab was expected to be about six months, which would have made him available sometime in late April, at the earliest.

Alexander was back practicing with his teammates on January 2.

Six months was too long a wait for Alexander, who had never played in an NFL playoff game. He set his sights on this past weekend, worked hard, and joined his teammates against the Minnesota Vikings.

Alexander's return energized the 49ers defense, which held the Vikings to just 147 total yards of offense and seven first downs.

General manager John Lynch joined KNBR on Thursday night and shared how Alexander's return inspired the 49ers, something the team hopes will help push it to the Super Bowl.

"I think people probably say, 'Wow,' because they thought he was out, like we all did," Lynch said on the Tolbert, Krueger and Brooks show. "That's someone setting their mind and saying, 'You know what? I don't care what history, precedent said. I'm going to come back because I feel good.'

"We thought he was crazy. But then, it made us take a deeper look. And then J.J. Watt kind of gets the same idea."

Alexander didn't appear in the stat sheet, but his presence was felt during Saturday's 27-10 victory over the Vikings.

The 49ers held Minnesota to just 21 rushing yards. The always-dangerous Dalvin Cook had 18 of those yards. Lynch said every time Cook turned around on a screen, Alexander was there ready to make a play, forcing the running back to alter his path.

"You know, Kwon played nine-and-a-half weeks after a torn pec and surgery," Lynch continued. "It's supposed to be a six-month injury. But he hit every marker. It wasn't like we were putting him out there not capable of playing, but he had to sign off on that.

"And in a day and an age where there's so much money at stake, and all that, you talk about a selfless act. That inspires teammates, it inspires me, and that's why we brought him here. We thought he was tone-setter."

Next up for the 49ers is an NFC Championship Game matchup on Sunday against the Green Bay Packers. The winner advances to Super Bowl LIV.

You can listen to the entire conversation with Lynch below.