The Green Bay Packers announced on Saturday that they elevated receiver Juwann Winfree and safety Micah Abernathy to the active gameday roster, bringing their gameday total up to 48 available players. As a reminder, NFL teams are able to call up players two times from the practice squad this season, for a max of two players per game, without having to sign the player(s) to the 53-man roster.
Last season, Winfree was activated in Week 5, Week 7 and Week 11 before being signed to the 53-man roster in Week 14. Winfree was able to be called up three times in 2021 due to him being called up as a Covid replacement, which changes the count from two call-ups to three call-ups for the season. That rule is still in place currently.
There’s a good chance that Winfree was promoted to help ease the blow that would result if the Packers are missing receiver Allen Lazard against the Minnesota Vikings. Lazard has not practiced all week after sustaining an ankle injury while getting stepped on in practice over a week ago. When asked what he needed to do to suit up against the Vikings, Lazard stated, “Pray,” on Friday.
Abernathy actually initially made the 53-man roster but was waived when the team signed safety/special teamer Rudy Ford after cutdowns. It’s pretty unlikely that the Packers take in all six of their available safeties into the game, meaning there’s a good chance that rookie seventh-round pick Tariq Carpenter is a healthy scratch tomorrow.
While starting safety Darnell Savage (hamstring) and backup safety/special teamer Dallin Leavitt (shoulder) appeared on the injury report this week, they were not named doubtful or questionable for the game. In Week 1 of the preseason, the last time we saw Leavitt healthy, Leavitt was on the Packers’ “starting” kickoff, punt (as a personal protector) and punt return teams. Ford, another Packers backup safety, is a punt-gunning ace and should play on at least the kickoff unit, if not more phases of special teams.
Abernathy has never played a regular season game for the Packers, as he was just signed by the team in August, but Winfree has played 151 offensive snaps to 61 special teams snaps in the nine games that he’s played with Green Bay over his career. Both Abernathy and Winfree are expected to play on kickoff return on top of playing reserve roles on defense and offense, respectively.