With their depth chart at the wide receiver position looking like a bit of a mess at the moment, the Minnesota Vikings have added a pair of young receivers with a bit of NFL experience to their practice squad. . .and there’s a solid chance that at least one of them will play on Monday night against Chicago.
On Wednesday, the team signed receivers Damion Ratley and Darrius Shepherd to the practice squad.
Ratley was a sixth-round pick of the Cleveland Browns in the 2018 NFL Draft after a solid college career at Texas A&M. His final season with the Aggies intersected with his new teammate on the Vikings, quarterback Kellen Mond, who was a freshman in Ratley’s final season. Ratley played his first two seasons with the Browns, and has since made stops with the New York Giants, Houston Texans, Detroit Lions, and Dallas Cowboys. For his career, he has caught 29 passes for 407 yards and one touchdown.
Shepherd, as you can see in the picture at the top of the piece, was a star for North Dakota State University, leading the team in receiving and on punt returns for his final three seasons in Fargo. He went undrafted in 2019 and spent his first two NFL seasons with the Green Bay Packers. This season, he’s been on the practice squads of both the Kansas City Chiefs and the Arizona Cardinals. For his career, Shepherd has just six receptions for 47 yards.
As things stand right now, the only available receivers on the active roster for the Vikings are Justin Jefferson, K.J. Osborn, and Ihmir Smith-Marsette. The team also has Myron Mitchell, who was in Training Camp with the Vikings, on the practice squad. And while there have been rumors that Adam Thielen might be able to return from the high ankle sprain he suffered early in the game against Detroit a few weeks ago, he’s definitely not a sure thing, either.
So, there’s a non-zero chance that at least one of the two players that the Vikings signed on Wednesday is going to be on the main roster and taking important snaps when the purple head to Soldier Field on Monday. We’ll have to keep an eye on everything and see what happens. . .the first injury report of the week is due out on Thursday (since the game isn’t until Monday), so we’ll have more of an idea on Thielen’s status then.