The Detroit Lions activated quarterback Matthew Stafford off the reserve/COVID-19 list Saturday, making him eligible to play Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings.
Stafford, who did not practice all week, is in line to start with coach Matt Patricia’s approval.
“Every situation that we have is individually based,” Patricia said Thursday. “Based on the player, whether or not there’s a guy that’s able to practice through the course of the week and then play in the game. Certainly it depends on what those situations are as far as being ready to go. It’s all just individually based.”
The Lions also activated defensive end Austin Bryant off the physically unable to perform list, placed cornerback Darryl Roberts on injured reserve, ruled out guard Joe Dahl with a back injury and elevated offensive lineman Marcus Martin off the practice squad.
In 12 years in the NFL, backup quarterback Chase Daniel, who ran the first-team offense in practice, said this was “the craziest week I’ve ever been a part of.” The Lions had coronavirus issues with players or staffers for four straight days, including Stafford.
Throughout the week, it was unclear whether Stafford would return or start. Would the Lions be comfortable enough to play him without any practice time, even facing a defense Stafford knows so well in Minnesota?
“He’s the heart and soul of this team,” Daniel said. “As the Lions go, so does Matthew Stafford and so forth and so on. So for him not to be here, it’s difficult on him, knowing him and the competitor he is. But there’s no doubt in my mind if he were to play, he doesn’t need practice.”
Stafford had participated with the Lions virtually all week, sitting in on Zoom meetings and making suggestions for the team’s plan against the Vikings.
“He’s in everything that we do,” Daniel said. “In our walk-through [Friday], it’s crazy what technology can do these days, and we’re having a good time with it and he’s making the adjustments and changes on the run, so it’s been a good week.”