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Vikings Activate Kenny Willekes from Reserve/COVID-19 List

DE Kenny Willekes
DE Kenny Willekes

EAGAN, Minn. – The Vikings on Friday announced Kenny Willekes has been activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list.

Minnesota also announced defensive end Nate Orchard has been released from the practice squad.

Willekes made his NFL debut against the Cowboys in Week 8, playing 16 defensive snaps for Minnesota.

The second-year defensive end increased that number to 41 snaps Week 9 against Baltimore after the loss of Danielle Hunter. Willekes recorded a half-sack of Lamar Jackson and totaled seven tackles.

The Vikings elevated Willekes from the practice squad to the 53-man roster as a COVID-19 replacement on Nov. 9. He soon after received a positive test himself, however, and had to miss Minnesota's Week 10 contest against the Chargers.

View photos of the Vikings 53-man roster as of Jan. 5, 2022.

Because Willekes was fully vaccinated, NFL protocols require that he receive consecutive negative tests in order to re-join team activities.

It remains to be seen if Willekes will play in Sunday's game against the Packers. If he's able to go, though, he adds depth and explosiveness to a Vikings defensive line that could certainly use the depth.

The 2020 seventh-round draft pick missed all of last season with an injury.