Vikings make a pair of practice squad protections

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With depth lacking at corner and defensive end, Minnesota made a pair of practice squad protections on Tuesday.

The Vikings protected DE Kenny Willekes and CB Tye Smith for this week. Last week, the team elevated Willekes for the Cowboys game.

Willekes proved to be a very timely addition to the game-day roster. Fellow defensive end Danielle Hunter suffered an injury during the game.

Minnesota ruled Hunter questionable to return. Then, the Vikings downgraded Hunter to out. Then, the Vikings placed Hunter on IR this week. He is out for the year.

Willekes played 16 defensive snaps on Sunday night. He had a hurry, no tackles and a PFF grade of 57.6.

The Vikings traded DE Stephen Weatherly during the team’s bye week. As the Tuesday trade deadline passed, Minnesota did not make any new additions.

That means Willekes could be playing a lot. Currently, the only defensive ends the Vikings have on the active roster are Everson Griffen, D.J. Wonnum and Patrick Jones II. Hunter’s injury was debilitating to this position group.

Minnesota placed Patrick Peterson on IR earlier this year. Peterson will have to miss at least the next two games. Smith can help out as a bottom-of-the-depth-chart option.