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Vikings Activate Pierce, Downgrade Kendricks on Injury Report

EAGAN, Minn. — In a case of good news, bad news, the Vikings on Saturday announced the activation of defensive tackle Michael Pierce and the downgrading of Eric Kendricks to out for Sunday's Week 13 game against the Lions in Detroit.

Minnesota (5-6) made a handful of moves as it headed to Motown in search of a season sweep of the 0-10-1 Lions.

The activation of Pierce means he's poised to return to action for the first time since leaving Minnesota's Week 4 game against Cleveland with an elbow injury.

Additional roster moves

The Vikings waived defensive end Eddie Yarbrough and activated defensive end Kenny Willekes from their practice squad as a COVID-19 replacement. Yarbrough appeared in the past three games for the Vikings with seven total snaps on defense and eight on special teams.

Willekes made his NFL debut against Dallas in Week 8 with 16 snaps on defense and seven on special teams. He followed with seven tackles, two tackles for loss and 0.5 sack on 41 defensive snaps at Baltimore in Week 9. The 2020 seventh-round pick has returned from spending time on the Practice Squad Reserve/COVID-19 list.

The Vikings used standard elevations to promote fullback Jake Bargas and safety Myles Dorn from their practice squad.

Bargas played seven offensive snaps at New Orleans on Christmas Night 2020 in his NFL debut and has backed up C.J. Ham. He could be tasked with work on special teams and/or potentially play some fullback if the Vikings need to line Ham up at halfback to make up for the absence of Dalvin Cook, who is out with a shoulder injury.

Dorn has played exclusively on special teams in four games. He made his debut in Week 2 at Arizona and has played at least 17 snaps on special teams in each of the past three games.

Game Status Updates

Kendricks has started all 11 games this season, recording 109 tackles, five tackles for loss, two interceptions and 4.0 sacks. He landed on the injury report this week with a biceps injury.

The linebacker was listed as limited Wednesday and Friday and as not participating in practice Thursday.

Running back/kick returner Kene Nwangwu was added to Minnesota's injury report Saturday as questionable because of an illness.

Nwangwu set a Super Bowl-era record with two kickoff return touchdowns in his first five career games. He gained 7 yards on his first carry last week at San Francisco to go along with a 99-yard return for a touchdown.

Defensive backs coach Karl Scott will miss Sunday's game due to COVID-19 protocols. Assistant defensive backs coach Roy Anderson will assume Scott's game-day responsibilities.