Vikings Promote OL Willie Beavers

The Vikings are set to promote offensive lineman Willie Beavers from the practice squad to the active roster, according to a team press release. In related moves, wide receiver Isaac Fruechte and guard Sean Hickey were added to the practice squad. Defensive back Julian Wilson was cut from the p-squad to make room. Willie Beavers (vertical)

Beavers, a guard out of Western Michigan, was selected in the fourth round of this year’s draft. However, he did not make the Vikings’ cutdown to 53. Upon clearing waivers, he was signed to a practice squad deal. Now, he may be on the active roster this weekend if Alex Boone‘s hip keeps him from playing.

Beavers played left tackle in college, but the Vikings would like to use him at multiple spots. With Boone hurting, Beavers’ first shot could come on the interior line.

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49ers To Sign Keshawn Martin

The 49ers are signing wide receiver/kick returner Keshawn Martin, as freelance NFL reporter Rand Getlin tweets. Interestingly, it will be a two-year contract for Martin. Keshawn Martin

Last year, Martin averaged 11.2 yards per reception with New England, though that came on a limited sample size of 24 receptions. Prior to the 2015 season, Martin spent his first three seasons with the Texans and saw the field in every regular season contest from 2012-2014. For his career, Martin has averaged 25.2 yards per kick return and it will be interesting to see how Martin is split between offense and special teams in SF.

As of this writing, the 49ers also have Torrey Smith, Quinton Patton, Jeremy Kerley, Rod Streater, and Aaron Burbridge on the WR depth chart.

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NFL Waiver Priority Now Based On 2016 Record

We’re coming up on Week 4 of the NFL season and that means that waiver claim priority will be based on the current league standings instead of last year’s. Of course, waiver priority is based on the inverted NFL standings, which have built in tiebreakers to sort out the many logjams that naturally occur.

Throughout the offseason and the first three weeks of the regular season, the Titans enjoyed top priority thanks to their 3-13 finish last year. Now, we have a brand new pecking order. Here is a full rundown of the current waiver claim priority, which will change from week to week:

1. Jaguars
2. Saints
3. Bears
4. Browns
5. Chargers
6. Lions
7. Jets
8. Cardinals
9. Bills
10. Colts
11. Dolphins
12. 49ers
13. Buccaneers
14. Bengals
15. Titans
16. Redskins
17. Panthers
18. Falcons
19. Cowboys
20. Giants
21. Raiders
22. Packers
23. Chiefs
24. Rams
25. Seahawks
26. Texans
27. Steelers
28. Ravens
29. Eagles
30. Broncos
31. Vikings
32. Patriots

Lions Audition DL Quinton Coples

The Lions worked out pass-rusher Quinton Coples today, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. However, Detroit will not be signing him at this time. Quinton Coples (vertical)

Defensive end Ziggy Ansah is expected to be out for Sunday’s game and perhaps longer as he deals with a high ankle sprain. The Lions wanted to take a closer look at Coples in the event that Ansah is out for a while, but it doesn’t sound like they were blown away by what they saw from the No. 16 overall pick in the 2012 draft. The Lions’ decision to pass on Coples could also be a sign that Ansah’s return is not far off.

Coples was cut by the Dolphins in February before his fifth-year option for the 2016 season became fully guaranteed. He hooked on with the Rams, but L.A. dropped him in late August. Coples had his best year as a pro in 2014, but even that amounted to just 35 tackles and 6.5 sacks, modest totals for a first-round pass rusher.

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Redskins Sign Sullivan, Lichtensteiger To IR

Big changes are coming for the Redskins at the center position. After working him out today, the Redskins have agreed to sign John Sullivan, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Tom Pelissero of USA Today (on Twitter) adds that it is a one-year deal. Meanwhile, Kory Lichtensteiger is being placed on IR after suffering a calf injury. "<strong

Sullivan, 31, has long been one of the league’s more underrated centers. Though he has never been named an All Pro or Pro Bowler, he’s been considered among the top at his position in the NFL. Until last year, he had started at least 14 games in every season since 2009. Sullivan missed all of 2015 due to injury, and veteran Joe Berger performed like a top-five center in his stead. The Vikings went with the much Berger this offseason, leaving Sullivan without a job.

Earlier this year, the Redskins traded for Bryan Stork as a possible understudy or replacement for Lichtensteiger, but he failed the physical. After he was sent back to New England, the Redskins were left looking thin on the interior line. Now that Lichtensteiger is likely done for the year, the Redskins are shaking things up and bringing in Sullivan, a lineman with a solid resume.

Lichtensteiger becomes the third Redskins starter to be placed on IR, joining DeAngelo Hall and Kedric Golston, as John Keim of ESPN.com notes (on Twitter).

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Bears To Sign Joique Bell

The Bears have signed running back Joique Bell, as NFL reporter Rand Getlin tweets. Bell met with Chicago late this morning and it didn’t take long for the two sides to shake hands on a deal. Joique Bell (vertical)

Bell has been on the market since he was released by the Lions in February. Prior to his release, the tailback turned down a pay cut proposal. In hindsight, Bell might have been too confident in the strength of his market. Regardless, Bell is now back in the game and back in the NFC North. The veteran will have an opportunity to exact revenge on his old team this Sunday when the Bears face off against Detroit.

Bell, 30, averaged just 3.5 yards per carry last season, the lowest of his career. However, he has a history of productivity and has shown that he can be an effective runner and pass catcher when given the opportunity. Before Theo Riddick was doing damage as a pass-catching back in the Lions’ offense, it was Bell who was making things happen with his hands. In his first two seasons with Detroit, Bell averaged 52 catches for 516 yards.

Bell will likely serve as a reserve tailback behind Jordan Howard while starter Jeremy Langford heals up from a ankle injury. Ka’Deem Carey is also dealing with a hamstring injury and his status going forward is uncertain.

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Bears Working Out RB Joique Bell

The Bears are working out running back Joique Bell today, as freelance reporter Rand Getlin tweets. Chicago is exploring depth options after losing Jeremy Langford to injury. Joique Bell (vertical)

Langford is expected to be out for 4-6 weeks with a sprained ankle and backup Ka’Deem Carey is dealing with a hamstring issue. If Carey cannot go in Week 4, the Bears will likely use rookie Jordan Howard as their primary back. Raheem Mostert is also on the depth chart, but the Bears will need another RB with experience behind the Indiana product if Carey cannot suit up.

In 13 games for Detroit last season, Bell racked up 311 yards off of 90 carries with four touchdowns. He also caught 22 passes for 286 yards. Despite giving the Lions multiple seasons of production, Bell was cut earlier this year to save $1MM against the cap.

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Tyler Eifert Won’t Play On Thursday?

Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert has hinted that he might play this week, but it’s not expected to happen, according to Bob Holtzman of ESPN.com (Twitter link). We’ll have to wait longer for Eifert to make his 2016 debut, though a Week 5 return is possible. Eifert has not participated in a full practice yet and has not done any 11-on-11 work. "<strong

Eifert missed the bulk of the 2014 season with an elbow injury and missed three games in 2015. Last year, the tight end caught 52 passes for 615 yards and 13 touchdowns. This year, he was expected to take on an even larger role in the Bengals’ passing game, particularly with Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones out of the picture. Eifert could still be an impact player for Cincinnati, but it sounds like we’ll have to wait until October to see him in action.

After facing the Dolphins on Thursday night, the Bengals travel to Dallas on Oct. 9. While Eifert is out, Tyler Kroft and C.J. Uzomah will remain as the Bengals’ top tight ends.

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Colts Place LB Trent Cole On IR

The Colts announced that they have placed defensive end/linebacker Trent Cole on injured reserve. It’s not immediately clear why Cole is being shut down, but he has been dealing with a back injury early on this season. Trent Cole (vertical)

Cole, 33, signed a two-year, $14MM contract with the Colts in March of 2015. In his first year in blue and white, Cole didn’t have the kind of impact the team was hoping for. While his Pro Football Focus grade was respectable – he placed 34th out of 110 edge defenders – Cole recorded just three sacks, matching a career low. This offseason, he accepted a significant pay cut that trimmed his cap hit for 2016 from $7.125MM to $4.875MM.

During his ten years in Philadelphia, Cole played 155 games (145 starts), racking up 85.5 sacks, 569 tackles, and 19 forced fumbles. But, after posting six consecutive seasons with eight or more sacks from 2006 to 2011, Cole’s production fell off starting in 2012. Cole hopes to get back to his old form, but he’ll have to get healthy first and that likely won’t happen until 2017. Soon to be 34, Cole will be a free agent in the spring.

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Injury Notes: Cook, Dolphins, Browns, Eagles

Jared Cook appears to have avoided a season-ending injury, but the rare Packers free agent looks to be out for at least a game and possibly more following Green Bay’s Week 4 bye, Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com reports. It’s being determined whether Cook will be out through Week 5, or if the former Titans and Rams target will be forced to miss multiple full games.

Cook left Lambeau Field Sunday on crutches and remains in a walking boot. The Packers are off in Week 4 and host the Giants in Week 5, but they will likely do so without their starting tight end’s services. Richard Rodgers will be the next man up for Green Bay.

Here are some more injury-related notes from around the league.

  • Continuing the string of trouble at the tight end position this season, Jordan Cameron suffered a concussion against the Browns and won’t play on Thursday against the Bengals, Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald reports. This makes four concussions in the past four years for Cameron, who is in his second season with the Dolphins.
  • Gase also labeled Arian Foster as unlikely to return this week, per Beasley. He remains out with a groin injury. Foster sustained a groin tear during his final Texans training camp last summer and underwent surgery for it at the time. Foster missed three games last season due to that malady before going down with the Achilles tear that ended his time in Houston.
  • Browns linebacker Nate Orchard has a high-ankle sprain, which he sustained on the final play of Cleveland’s overtime loss in Miami, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com reports (on Twitter). Orchard is expected to be out “a while.” Additionally, Tramon Williams suffered an AC joint sprain during the loss, Hue Jackson said Monday. It’s unclear how long the veteran corner will be out.
  • As long as Ryan Mathews is healthy, he will remain the Eagles‘ top running back, per Doug Pederson (via Zach Berman of Philly.com). The problem, as it’s been for much of the running back’s career, stems from the fact the second-year Eagle again might not be healthy. Mathews left Sunday’s game against the Steelers after playing just eight snaps due to a left ankle injury. Mathews struggled with left ankle trouble in training camp as well.
  • The Eagles expect Zach Ertz and Leodis McKelvin to return after the team’s Week 4 bye, Berman reports. Philadelphia’s starting tight end has missed the past two games with a displaced rib, and McKelvin has missed the same amount of time due to a hamstring ailment.
  • Safety Darian Thompson‘s foot injury is not serious and not “the end of the world,” a source tells Paul Schwartz of the New York Post (on Twitter). Thompson will probably be out another week or two before suiting up for the Giants.

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