FEBRUARY 5: While McKinnon’s status in practice will be monitored closely, Rapoport notes there is a “very real chance” he is activated in time for the Super Bowl (video link). Signs are certainly pointing toward Kansas City having a full array of backs available on Sunday.
FEBRUARY 3: The Chiefs will be shorthanded in the front seven for Super Bowl LVIII, but they could have added depth in the offensive backfield. Kansas City designated running back Jerick McKinnon for return from injured reserve on Saturday, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network notes.
McKinnon was placed on IR in December, a move which guaranteed he would miss the final three weeks of the regular season. A groin injury left him on the sidelines through Kansas City’s three-week postseason run back to the Super Bowl, but the veteran will now be an option to return to the lineup in the event he is activated in time. Kansas City has five activations remaining.
In the 2021 postseason, McKinnon racked up 315 scrimmage yards in three games. His playoff production fell off last year with only 92 total yards, however, and his usage in the 2023 campaign took a step back. The 31-year-old received just 21 carries in 12 contests this season, one in which Isiah Pacheco confirmed his status as the Chiefs’ lead back. McKinnon averaged only 2.9 yards per carry this year, though he did chip in with 192 yards and four touchdowns in the passing game.
A healthy McKinnon would give Kansas City a number of options to choose from in the backfield. The team has, to no surprise, leaned mainly on Pacheco in the playoffs. Former first-rounder Clyde Edwards-Helaire has also been used sparingly, receiving 10 postseason carries to date. After he was a healthy scratch for last year’s Super Bowl, Edwards-Helaire is in line to play in next Sunday’s title game. The Chiefs also have La’Mical Perine available as a special teams contributor.
Kansas City designated wideout Skyy Moore to return in mid-January, and his status will be worth watching in the coming days to see if he will be an option for the Super Bowl. O-lineman Prince Tega Wanogho would also use up one of the team’s remaining activations (and a roster spot) if he were to be brought back into the fold in the near future. At a minimum, though, McKinnon should be able to play next week as he searches for a second career Super Bowl win.