UPDATE: Per Darren Wolfson of KSTP, Willekes is fully vaccinated, but he’s still going to be out for Sunday’s game.
On the Thursday injury report, the Minnesota Vikings listed defensive end Kenny Willekes as not having practiced due to an illness, and yours truly speculated that if the illness was COVID-related, we would know about it.
Well, guess what?
On Friday morning, the Vikings placed Willekes on their reserve/COVID-19 list. To take his spot on the roster, the team has signed defensive end Eddie Yarbrough.
Willekes had been elevated to the 53-man roster for the past couple of weeks and has played some pretty good football during that time. Unfortunately, he’s now the sixth player that the Vikings have had to place on the COVID-19 list over the course of the past week. We don’t have Willekes’ vaccination status or anything like that, so we don’t know what it will take for him to be available. It’s a pretty safe bet, however, that he will miss this Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Yarbrough played in three games for the Vikings in 2020, having been elevated from the practice squad in each instance. He then signed with the San Francisco 49ers and spent some time on their practice squad, but was released by them about a week and a half ago. With the Vikings’ current situation at defensive end, he’s likely going to be in line to start getting snaps right away for the team.
Along with Willekes, the Vikings have placed center Garrett Bradbury, guard Dakota Dozier, safety Harrison Smith, practice squad tackle Timon Parris, and linebacker Ryan Connelly on the COVID-19 list over the course of the past week.
The hits just keep on coming for the Vikings when it comes to COVID, but as we always point out in these situations, the most important thing is that Kenny Willekes and the rest of the Vikings that are dealing with COVID make a strong, fast recovery.