FEBRUARY 11: McKinnon is a game time decision, but NFL Network’s James Palmer reports he is expected to play. Sunday’s contest would represent his first action since Week 14, but it would also mark an impressive recovery in relatively short order from his core muscle surgery. McKinnon is a pending free agent, and a strong performance would help his market on another Chiefs deal or one with a new team.
FEBRUARY 10: With the NFL’s season finale taking place tomorrow night, both participants have made their roster moves in anticipation of the biggest game of the year. The 49ers‘ moves are simple as they choose to promote defensive tackles Alex Barrett and T.Y. McGill as standard gameday elevations, per Matt Barrows of The Athletic. The Chiefs will make an elevation, as well, while also choosing to swap out an active roster player for a player off of injured reserve.
The Chiefs standard gameday practice squad elevation will once again be nose tackle Mike Pennel, who has been activated for each of Kansas City’s three playoff victories thus far. In the past, Pennel has been joined by practice squad cornerback Keith Taylor or defensive tackle Matt Dickerson, but it appears Pennel will be the lone practice squad defender activated for tomorrow.
As for the active roster addition, the Chiefs have made the move to officially activate running back Jerick McKinnon off of IR. The veteran rusher has mostly been a non-factor in the Chiefs offense this year but has served a role as the team’s backup pass-catching back. Despite the activation, McKinnon is still listed as questionable going into Sunday night’s game. In order to make room for McKinnon on the active roster, the Chiefs placed All-Pro guard Joe Thuney on IR. Thuney’s status was already known, so clearing him from the active roster should have little consequence at this point.
For San Francisco, Barrett and McGill are expected to be among the seven players listed as inactive for the big game. While this may make the elevations seem trivial, it’s the 49ers way of rewarding the reserve defenders. Elevating Barrett and McGill will provide the two with an additional playoff paycheck before the season ends.