Quarterback Brian Hoyer as well as linebackers Matt Judon, Ja’Whaun Bentley, Josh Uche and Brandon King have all cleared protocols and been activated from Covid-19 reserve ahead of Sunday’s matchup, as reported by ESPN’s Field Yates and the Boston Globe’s Jim McBride.
Hoyer, 36, has appeared in four games this season while completing 6-of-7 passes for 164 yards and one touchdown. Second on the quarterback depth chart, the 2009 undrafted free agent out of Michigan State is in his third tour with the organization.
Judon, 29, stands with a career-high 12.5 sacks to go with 57 tackles and one fumble recovery in his first Patriots campaign. The 2016 Baltimore Ravens fifth-round pick out of Grand Valley State recently earned his third consecutive Pro Bowl honor.
Bentley, 25, ranks second on the defense with 88 tackles and has added one sack along with his initial three forced fumbles. Arriving in the fifth round of the 2018 draft, the Purdue product has played 62 percent of New England’s snaps in a contract year.
Uche, 23, has registered 10 tackles, three sacks and one fumble recovery through 10 games as a sophomore. The 2020 second-round draft choice via Michigan returned from injured reserve on the eve of Week 16.
King, 28, spent the past two seasons on injured reserve and physically unable to perform after suffering a torn quad. The 2015 undrafted signing from Auburn has since played 274 snaps on special teams and recorded 10 tackles.
In further New Year’s Day movement, the Patriots announced the elevations of wide receiver Kristian Wilkerson, defensive tackle Daniel Ekuale and cornerback D’Angelo Ross from the practice squad. Scheduled to revert on Monday, each previously served as call-ups for last Sunday’s 33-21 loss to the Buffalo Bills.
Wilkerson, 24, has checked into three games for New England since landing on the practice squad to begin 2020, totaling nine snaps on offense and 11 snaps on special teams. The wideout originally signed with the Tennessee Titans as a rookie free agent out of Southeast Missouri State.
Ekuale, 27, rotated in for a season-high 21 defensive downs last weekend and has logged five tackles and two sacks for the Patriots. Joining the practice squad at its formation, the Washington State alum made prior stops with the Cleveland Browns and Jaguars after going undrafted in 2018.
Ross, 25, made his NFL debut with five snaps in the secondary versus Buffalo. A member of the 2019 Patriots undrafted class, the New Mexico transfer spent his rookie year on injured reserve and was an inactive elevation from the practice squad for last January’s finale.
Kickoff at Gillette Stadium is set for 1 p.m. ET.