The Vikings will get a couple reinforcements at practice upon returning from the bye week, as right guard Pat Elflein and linebacker Troy Dye have been cleared to take a step toward playing again.
The Vikings designated Elflein and Dye to return from injured reserve on Monday, meaning they’ve started a 21-day window during which both players can practice but will remain on I.R. until activated. The team must activate the player within three weeks, or the player remains on I.R. for the season.
Elflein was placed on injured reserve after tearing a ligament in his thumb during practice following the Week 1 loss to Green Bay. He’s missed five games already, replaced by Dru Samia in four starts and rookie Ezra Cleveland most recently in the loss to Atlanta.
Dye, the fourth-round rookie out of Oregon, injured his ankle in the Week 2 loss at Indianapolis. He could return to multiple roles on special teams. The Vikings’ deadline to activate Elflein and Dye is Monday, Nov. 16, when they’re scheduled to play in Chicago on Monday night.
The Vikings also filled the two roster spots with cornerbacks, promoting Mark Fields from the practice squad and claiming Chris Jones, a third-year player out of Nebraska, off waivers from the Detroit Loins.
Fields and Jones take the spots vacated by defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, who was traded to the Ravens last week, and safety George Iloka, who tore an ACL in practice and was placed on injured reserve.
Jones, originally an undrafted signing by the Lions in 2018, has spent much of his early NFL career with the Arizona Cardinals, where he appeared in 14 games. Jones (6-foot, 200 pounds) was credited with six pass deflections last season, including three during a start against the Seahawks. Jones, waived by the Lions on Saturday, has started three games in his career.
The Vikings are dealing with a handful of injuries at cornerback, with Mike Hughes leaving the Oct. 18 loss to Atlanta after 13 snaps due to a recurring neck injury. Cornerbacks Kris Boyd (hamstring) has missed the past three games, while Holton Hill (foot) has been sidelined for the last two games.