The New England Patriots activated tight end Visanthe Shiancoe from the designated-to-return injured reserve list, giving the team insurance at the position with Aaron Hernandez nursing an ankle injury.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Hernandez will miss Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills. Hernandez also sat out the Patriots' previous game, an Oct. 28 win over the St. Louis Rams in London, before the team's bye last weekend.
Hernandez, 23, has played just four of the Patriots' first eight games.
Shiancoe, 32, hurt a hamstring early in his first training camp as a Patriot. He returned to practice late last month. The 10-year veteran had several big seasons for the Minnesota Vikings, topping 40 catches and 500 yards each season from 2008-10, and he caught 11 touchdown passes in 2009. Last year, he had 36 receptions for 409 yards and three touchdowns for Minnesota.
He could be used as a blocker and a receiver.
"I think when you look back at his career, he's done both," coach Bill Belichick said. "I don't know, we've had him but not for very much time and no games, so we'll see how it goes in our offense if we're able to get that point (of utilizing Shiancoe). I don't know."