The Vikings promoted defensive end Kenny Willekes to the 53-player roster, the team announced Tuesday. Willekes is a COVID-19 replacement for safety Harrison Smith.
Minnesota placed Smith on the COVID-19 reserve list before last Sunday’s 34-31 overtime loss to the Ravens. He will miss this week’s game, too.
Willekes has spent the season on the practice squad but was elevated for the Oct. 31 game against the Cowboys as a standard elevation.
In 2020, he missed his rookie season with a knee injury.
The Vikings also announced they signed defensive end Nate Orchard and defensive tackle T.Y. McGill to the practice squad. Orchard, a seven-year veteran, was waived Saturday, three days after being signed to the practice squad. McGill, also a seven-year veteran, has appeared in 44 career games for Indianapolis, Cleveland, Philadelphia and the Chargers.