4:05pm: Henderson’s path back to the Rams’ 53-man roster is no longer as smooth as it looked. In addition to moving Freeman up on a full-time basis, the Rams are signing Myles Gaskin off the Vikings’ practice squad, ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweets. A four-year Miami contributor, Gaskin caught on with the Vikings after an August Dolphins release. Gaskin, who led the Dolphins in rushing in 2019 and ’20, has played in one Vikings game this season.
The Rams are adding Henderson to their practice squad. The former third-round pick, who played for the team from 2019-22, has not been on a roster since last season. In addition to bringing back Henderson, the Rams are signing Royce Freeman to their 53-man roster. Freeman had played in three Rams games this season, doing so as a practice squad elevation. Sean McVay said Monday both Williams and Rivers would miss time; Rivers is an IR candidate after suffering a PCL sprain.
Henderson worked as the Rams’ starter for much of their 2021 Super Bowl-winning season, but injuries and a COVID-19 contraction slowed his momentum and led to Sony Michel and then Cam Akers taking over the starting role. Henderson suffered a thigh injury late in the 2021 season, and after the COVID bout, he sustained an MCL sprain. While the Rams activated Henderson for Super Bowl LVI, he has not recaptured the momentum from the ’21 regular season.
With Akers and the Rams at odds early during the 2022 season, Henderson filled in as a seven-game starter. But the Rams encountered a number of offensive line injuries and were eventually playing without Matthew Stafford. Henderson finished his abbreviated 2022 with 283 rushing yards (4.0 per carry); the Rams waived him in late November. While the Jaguars stepped in with a claim, they moved on without using Henderson in a regular-season game. Summer workouts for the Patriots and Colts did not lead to a signing.
Henderson, 26, produced back-to-back 600-yard rushing seasons from 2020-21. Akers became the Rams’ go-to back down the stretch in 2020, but after he suffered an Achilles tear in July 2021, the eventual championship team rolled with a Henderson-Michel duo. Zach Evans came into Tuesday as the only healthy back on Los Angeles’ 53-man roster. Freeman will now join him, though Henderson certainly is familiar with McVay’s system and would make sense as a roster elevation for Week 7.
Freeman, 27, joined the Rams just after this year’s training camp. The former Broncos third-round pick, whom Phillip Lindsay displaced as a starter during each’s rookie year (2018), spent last season with the Texans. Houston re-signed Freeman, a 2021 waiver claim, but did not use him much on offense. Freeman has not eclipsed 200 rushing yards in a season since 2019. The Rams cut Freeman after this preseason slate but kept him on their practice squad, rolling with first- or second-year backs on their active roster following the September Akers trade. Evans has taken four handoffs this season; all of Freeman’s 2023 snaps have come on special teams.