Vikings release former Patriots 1st-round pick WR N’Keal Harry

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The Minnesota Vikings announced on Thursday that they’ve released wide receiver N’Keal Harry, just a few weeks after signing him.

Harry, 25, is a former first-round draft pick. He was selected 32nd overall by the New England Patriots in 2019, but began the season on injured reserve with an ankle issue. He didn’t make his debut until Week 11, and ended the season with 12 receptions for 105 yards and two touchdowns in seven games. He was mostly healthy in 2020, appearing in 14 games and making 33 catches for 309 yards with two TDs.

The Pats explored trading him before the 2021 season, and Harry subsequently requested a trade. But he didn’t go anywhere and spent portions of the year nursing knee and shoulder injuries. New England decided to cut ties in July 2022, trading him to the Chicago Bears. But Harry still struggled, appearing in just seven games and making just seven catches with one touchdown for Chicago.

Earlier this summer, Harry visited with the Dallas Cowboys and the Buffalo Bills before signing with the Vikings on Aug. 6. But 18 days later, Harry is back on the market.

The Vikings also announced Thursday that they’ve signed safety Jake Gervase. To make room for him, Harry was released.

Wednesday, Aug. 23

Patriots RB Ezekiel Elliott ‘a good fit’ so far in New England

At least so far, Ezekiel Elliott is loving his time in New England.

The former Dallas Cowboys running back signed with the Patriots earlier this month, marking a jump to his second team since he entered the league in 2016.

“I think if you look at my play style and the culture of this team, it’s a good match. I think I’m a good fit,” he said Wednesday, via ESPN’s Mike Reiss. “I was at home for a long time, so I thought I definitely should come in and be kind of an energizer boost. The transition has been good. I’ve been getting along with the team. Love the coaches, love the atmosphere and love this program. Just having fun.”

Elliott was a fan favorite in Dallas, where he led the league in rushing twice and had four 1,000-yard seasons. Yet last year, he ran for a career-low 876 yards and averaged a career-worst 3.8 yards per carry. The team released him earlier this summer, and opted to use the franchise tag on running back Tony Pollard instead.

Elliott finally reached a one-year deal with the Patriots earlier this month. The deal can be worth up to $6 million.

The Patriots have slowly increased Elliott’s workload in practices in recent days, and he’s taken snaps largely behind starter Rhamondre Stevenson. It’s unclear if Elliott will see the field on Friday, when the Patriots will play their final preseason game against the Tennessee Titans. He didn’t play in last week’s game against the Green Bay Packers, though he was with the club at Lambeau Field.

“I was at home, but I was definitely working my tail off,” he said, via ESPN. “I think I did one day of conditioning after I signed, and they threw me right in there. I feel good. I feel like I’m ready to play.”

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 19: Ezekiel Elliott #15 of the New England Patriots looks on before the start of a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on August 19, 2023 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN – AUGUST 19: Ezekiel Elliott #15 of the New England Patriots looks on before the start of a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on August 19, 2023 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Panthers WR DJ Chark misses practice with hamstring injury

Carolina Panthers receiver DJ Chark is once again dealing with an injury.

Chark was absent from practice on Wednesday, and initially no one knew why. Head coach Frank Reich declined to give any sort of update when he spoke with the media, which seemed pretty ominous.

Shortly after, the team announced that Chark missed practice due to a hamstring injury, but offered no additional details. Since the Pathers didn’t elaborate, we don’t know when Chark got hurt or how it happened. We also don’t know how severe the hamstring strain is, though NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said that “it doesn’t sound like a major one.”

Chark has a fairly extensive injury history over his five seasons in the NFL. Drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2018, Chark has never been able to play all 16 (more recently 17) games in a season, mostly due to health. He missed three games in 2020 with rib and shin issues. In 2021, his final season with the Jags, he fractured his ankle in Week 4 and missed the rest of the season. Then, after signing with the Detroit Lions in 2022, he missed six games with continuing ankle issues.

At least this time, Chark’s problem isn’t with his ankle. He returned to form in 2022 after 2021’s season-ending injury, and with receivers Terrace Marshall and Laviska Shenault already sidelined, the Panthers are going to need him.

SPARTANBURG, SOUTH CAROLINA - JULY 27: DJ Chark Jr. #17 of the Carolina Panthers attends Carolina Panthers Training Camp at Wofford College on July 27, 2023 in Spartanburg, South Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Panthers wide receiver DJ Chark has been sidelined with a hamstring strain, and it’s not clear how long he’ll be out. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Tuesday, Aug. 22

Terry McLaurin has no damage in toe

Though he went down with a toe injury on Monday night, the Washington Commanders are optimistic that wide receiver Terry McLaurin will be available in time for their season opener.

McLaurin sprained his right big toe at the end of a 13-yard completion just before halftime in their win against the Baltimore Ravens on Monday night. He underwent X-rays at the stadium after the 29-28 win, and those came back negative. Then on Tuesday, according to ESPN’s John Keim, an MRI revealed no major damage.

Commanders coach Ron Rivera said after the game that McLaurin would be considered day-to-day. The Commanders will open their season against the Arizona Cardinals on Sept. 10, which is just under three weeks away.

McLaurin is entering his fifth season in the league this fall. The 27-year-old had a career-high 1,191 receiving yards and five touchdowns last season with the Commanders, who first selected him in the third round of the 2019 draft. McLaurin has had three straight seasons with at least 1,000 receiving yards, and he averaged 15.5 yards per catch last season, which was the sixth-best in the league.

McLaurin signed a three-year, $71 million contract extension with the franchise last summer.

The Commanders’ one-point win on Monday night, which came thanks to a late 49-yard field goal from Joey Slye, snapped Baltimore’s incredible NFL record 24-game preseason win streak. The loss for the Ravens marked their first in the preseason since 2015.

Terry McLaurin sprained his toe in the second quarter of the Commanders' win over the Ravens on Monday night.

Terry McLaurin sprained his toe in the second quarter of the Commanders’ win over the Ravens on Monday night. (Michael Owens/Getty Images)

Sunday, Aug. 20

Bucs yet to name starting QB

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have yet to officially name a starting quarterback for this season, and head coach Todd Bowles doesn’t seem too stressed about it just yet.

Bowles said Sunday that the team has not yet decided between either Baker Mayfield or Kyle Trask — which is the last true quarterback competition in the league this season — and that both will play in their final preseason game next Saturday against the Baltimore Ravens.

“We don’t have a timetable on it. We’ll name [a starter] when we name it,” Bowles said, via ESPN’s Jenna Laine. “We feel comfortable with where we’re at, so we’ll go from there.”

Mayfield joined the Buccaneers this past offseason on a one-year, $4 million deal. He spent last season with both the Carolina Panthers and Los Angeles Rams. Mayfield started in the Buccaneers’ first preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he went 8-of-9 and threw for 63 yards and a touchdown. Trask, who the Buccaneers selected in the second round of the 2021 draft, then replaced Mayfield in the second quarter.

Bowles then opted to sit Mayfield in the Buccaneers’ second preseason game against the New York Jets on Saturday. Trask started instead, and looked much better than he did in their preseason opener. He went 20-of-28 for 218 yards, and he threw a 33-yard touchdown to rookie Trey Palmer.

Quarterback John Wolford sustained a neck injury in the second half of Saturday’s game.

The Buccaneers will open their season against the Minnesota Vikings on Sept. 10, about two weeks after their last preseason game.

“We don’t worry about the continuity part, everybody has gotten plenty of reps together,” Bowles said. “Two weeks will be fine for us. We just need some game time, so everybody is going to play.”

Friday, Aug. 18

Lions waive WR Denzel Mims after ankle injury

The Detroit Lions reportedly waived wide receiver Denzel Mims with an injury designation Friday, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. He reportedly sustained knee and calf injuries more than two weeks ago and hasn’t been on the practice field since.

Mims, 25, joined the Lions a month ago after Detroit traded a conditional 2025 sixth-round pick to the New York Jets for him and a 2025 seventh-round pick. The Lions will get that sixth-round pick back, though, because the compensation sent to the Jets was conditional on Mims making the 53-man roster.

Denzel Mims lasted only a month with the Lions. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Denzel Mims lasted only a month with the Lions. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Now, the 2020 second-round pick will rehab his injuries without a team. Mims has been incredibly underwhelming since he entered the league as the No. 59 pick out of Baylor. He has only 42 receptions for 676 yards and no touchdowns in 30 games over the past three seasons. Mims failed to rise up the depth chart during his time with New York and became expendable after the Jets added Allen Lazard and Mecole Hardman in free agency.

Thursday, Aug. 17

Lions WR Jameson Williams out with hamstring injury

Detroit Lions second-year wideout Jameson Williams will likely miss the rest of the preseason with a hamstring injury he suffered during practice Wednesday, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Lions head coach Dan Campbell later confirmed “there’s a good chance” Williams’ injury will last for the entire preseason. He also joked that he doesn’t expect to have Williams for the first six games of the regular season as well, although that stems from a six-game suspension Williams received after the NFL found he and others participated in sports betting. Williams reportedly gambled on college games at team facilities, which is against the league’s sports betting policy.

Williams reportedly pulled up limping on a deep passing drill Wednesday and clutched his right hamstring. He missed a few practices earlier this summer with a left hamstring ailment.

It’s another setback for Williams, who the Lions drafted No. 12 overall in 2022. He missed the first 11 games of this past season while he recovered from an ACL injury he suffered in college. Williams played 78 snaps in six games in 2022 and only caught one of night targets — a 41-yard touchdown in a Week 17 win over the NFC North rival Chicago Bears. Williams caught two passes for 18 yards on 51 offensive snaps in his first preseason action against the New York Giants this past week.

The first game Williams will be eligible to play in 2023 — if he’s healthy — is Week 7 against the Baltimore Ravens. For now, he’ll have to sit, watch and recover from his injury.

Wednesday, Aug. 16

Treylon Burks’ knee injury isn’t as serious as it initially seemed.

The Tennessee Titans wide receiver, who was carted off the field during a joint practice with the Minnesota Vikings on Wednesday, sprained his LCL, according to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

While the injury was initially concerning, Burks is now expected to miss only a few weeks.

Burks caught a deep pass from Ryan Tannehill during the joint practice on Wednesday and stumbled his way into the end zone before falling down. As he stood back up, Burks started limping instantly.

He was eventually helped off the field and attended to by trainers before being carted off the field.

“You hate seeing that,” Tannehill said, via ESPN’s Turron Davenport. “We’ll find out more information and see what’s really going on, but hopefully he’s going to be all right. He seemed obviously upset, and understandably so. Our thoughts and prayers are with him right now, and hopefully it’s not too bad.”

According to Rapoport, Burks is now expected to be sidelined for just a few weeks. The Titans open their season on Sept. 10 against the New Orleans Saints, which is a little more than three weeks away. It’s unclear if he’ll be ready to go by Week 1.

Burks, 23, recorded 444 receiving yards and scored one touchdown in 11 games last season. The Titans selected him with the No. 18 overall pick in last year’s draft out of Arkansas.

The Titans and Vikings will square off in their preseason game on Saturday.

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Father of Titans CB Caleb Farley dies in house explosion

Seahawks WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba to have wrist surgery

Amazon’s TNF broadcast will use AI

Bucs name Baker Mayfield starting QB

Colts willing to trade RB Jonathan Taylor

Madden predicts NFL season

Bill Belichick on Taylor Swift’s “tough” rain show in New England

Scott Van Pelt to join ESPN’s Monday Night Countdown