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Vikings Elevate Willekes, Add McGill & Orchard to Practice Squad

DT T.Y McGill
DT T.Y McGill

EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings on Tuesday announced that Kenny Willekes was elevated to the 53-man roster from the practice squad as a COVID-19 replacement.

Willekes has played the past two weeks, taking 16 defensive snaps against Dallas as a standard elevation. Last week, as a COVID-19 replacement, Willekes totaled seven tackles, two quarterback hits and shared a sack over the course of 41 defensive snaps.

Minnesota also added some defensive line depth to its practice squad, announcing the signing of DT T.Y. McGill and the re-signing of DE Nate Orchard, who initially joined the Vikings practice squad last week.

DE Nate Orchard

DE Nate Orchard

McGill is a veteran of 44 NFL games and has recorded 5.5 sacks, a forced fumble and a safety in his career.

The 28-year-old (he'll turn 29 on Nov. 23) joins a Vikings defensive tackle group that features a mix of veterans and youngsters.

Minnesota has five defensive tackles — Michael Pierce, Dalvin Tomlinson, Armon Watts, Sheldon Richardson and James Lynch — on its active roster.

Pierce has missed the past four games with an elbow injury, and Tomlinson was a big free agent signing this past offseason.

Watts, a third-year player, has started (and played well) in place of Pierce over the past four games. He has recorded 2.5 sacks and forced a fumble in that span. Richardson recorded his first 1.5 sacks of the season Sunday.


DT T.Y. McGill

McGill is now one of two defensive tackles on the practice squad, joining T.J. Smith.

McGill starred at North Carolina State and joined the Seahawks as an undrafted free agent in 2015.

He was released during roster cuts and picked up by Indianapolis. He played 25 games for the Colts in 2015 and 2016, recording 5.0 sacks for Indianapolis in those two seasons. One of his sacks came against the Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in Week 14 of the 2016 season.

McGill has since played 19 games through the 2017-2020 seasons with the Browns (2017), Eagles (2018), Chargers (2018-19) and Eagles (2020).

He spent two stints with Los Angeles that bookended two games in Philadelphia in 2018. The Vikings visit the Chargers at 3:05 p.m. (CT) Sunday.