The Packers extended their win streak from three to six games without Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who has missed the mandatory three weeks while on IR. But Green Bay’s wide receiver situation suddenly looks dire ahead of its Week 8 matchup with Arizona.
Davante Adams and Allen Lazard are out for Thursday night’s game, and ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler tweets Valdes-Scantling is looking unlikely to be activated by this afternoon’s deadline. MVS made the trip and became eligible to come off IR this week. But the contract-year wide receiver may have 10 more days to recover from the hamstring injury that sent him to IR.
Green Bay placed Adams and Lazard on its reserve/COVID-19 list on Monday and Tuesday, respectively. Adams tested positive for the coronavirus, while Lazard landed on the virus list as a high-risk close contact — a distinction only pertaining to unvaccinated players in 2021. Adams is vaccinated but did not complete the two negative tests required to return to action.
Adams has served as Green Bay’s No. 1 wide receiver for years, and his 744 receiving yards lead the 2021 Packers by a staggering total. Aaron Jones and Lazard have 186 and 184, respectively. MVS serves as the Packers’ top deep threat, having led the NFL in yards per reception (20.9) last season.
This trio being sidelined leaves Randall Cobb and rookie Amari Rodgers as Aaron Rodgers‘ top wideout options, though Jones certainly factors into this equation alongside tight end Robert Tonyan. The Packers are also elevating wideout Juwann Winfree for tonight’s game, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets. A 2019 Broncos sixth-round pick, Winfree has played in three Packers games over the past two seasons but has yet to record a regular-season reception.
Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline Tuesday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters. In addition to waiver claims, teams can begin constructing their 16-man practice squads today. These Bears, Lions, Packers and Vikings moves are noted below.
Here are Wednesday’s NFC North transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day.
Christian Kirksey will be back in uniform on Sunday. The Packers are activating the veteran linebacker from IR after a lengthy stay without one of their starters.
Green Bay parked the former Cleveland standout on IR because of a September shoulder injury. The offseason addition has been out since Week 3. His return will stand to help a Packers defense that has struggled this season.
After a strong start to his career led to the Browns signing off on an eight-figure-per-year extension, Kirksey has not shown he can stay healthy consistently in recent years. He missed 23 games during his final two Browns seasons and became a 2020 cap casualty. Kirksey still received considerable interest as a street free agent this offseason and signed a two-year, $13MM deal with the Packers. Green Bay guaranteed Kirksey $4MM but can drop him after 2020 and save $6MM, making the second half of this season key for the seventh-year vet.
The Packers also promoted wide receiver Juwann Winfree from their practice squad. The team did not activate Allen Lazard from IR, despite their No. 2 wideout making the trip to San Francisco in Week 9. In order for Lazard to return this season, he must be activated ahead of the Packers’ Week 11 game. The Packers are also elevating cornerbacks KeiVarae Russell and Stanford Samuels and safety Henry Black.