The Minnesota Vikings announced a mildly surprising roster move the day after defeating the Arizona Cardinals in Week 11. The team released running back Ronnie Hillman and promoted defensive end Stephen Weatherly to the active 53-man roster.
We have signed Stephen Weatherly (@TDHAthlete) to the active roster and waived Ronnie Hillman.— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) November 21, 2016
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Hillman saw only six snaps and two carries against the Cardinals at US Bank Stadium on Sunday. During his brief five-game stint with the Vikings, Hillman garnered 18 rushes for 50 yards, good for a sadly fitting 2.8 yard per carry average. Hillman also had 4 catches for 43 yards.
Weatherly, a seventh round pick out of Vanderbilt this year, has not been on the active roster yet in his career. With the defensive line relatively healthy apart from Sharrif Floyd, it would be hard to imagine a scenario where Weatherly gets a significant amount of playing time.
The move by the Vikings is rather curious because it leaves only two healthy running backs on the current active roster—Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata. It’s only pure speculation at this point, but this may signal that Adrian Peterson might be ready to return to the team sooner rather than later. He is already eligible to be recalled from Injured Reserve. Most recent reports have alluded to Peterson not being ready until December, but when it comes to AP and the healing process, nothing can be completely ruled out.
The return of AP wouldn’t immediately resolve the Vikings’ historically bad rushing woes, but one would think that he certainly couldn’t make anything worse. We’ll be sure to keep a close eye on any future roster moves the Vikings make in the coming days and weeks.