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Rams emerge from COVID outbreak with every starter available Sunday vs. Vikings

Tyler Higbee of the Los Angeles Rams catches a pass and runs against the Houston Texans.
Tight end Tyler Higbee is one of several Rams players recently activated to the roster from the NFL’s reserve/COVID-19 list.
(Jeff Lewis / Associated Press)

The Rams, emerging from a coronavirus outbreak that impacted the roster for two weeks, will travel to Minnesota for Sunday’s game against the Vikings at near full strength.

Safety Jordan Fuller and tight end Tyler Higbee were activated to the roster Friday from the NFL’s reserve/COVID-19 list, the team announced. Their return provides coach Sean McVay with every starter available as the Rams (10-4) attempt to clinch a playoff spot.

The Rams can clinch with a win or a tie, or an Eagles loss or tie plus a Saints loss or tie.

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McVay said it was “a big boost” for a team that has weathered a tumultuous two weeks.

“I really think it says a lot about our team the way they’ve navigated through this,” McVay said after a practice at SoFi Stadium, adding, “We’ve had a lot of moving parts since I’ve been here for a lot of different reasons, but these last couple weeks there been more moving parts than I can ever remember.”

Higbee had sat out the last two games against Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks. Fuller was sidelined against the Seahawks.

NFL roundtable: Rams and Chargers appear to be playoff teams, but Rams could gain a postseason advantage if they win the NFC West. The AFC race is much tighter for the 8-6 Chargers.

At one point, nearly 30 players from the roster and practice squad were on the reserve/COVID-19 list, including starters Fuller, Higbee, running back Darrell Henderson, receiver Odell Beckham Jr., offensive lineman Rob Havenstein, cornerback Jalen Ramsey and linebacker Von Miller.

Henderson, Higbee, Havenstein and Ramsey did not play in the Rams’ 30-23 victory over the Cardinals on Dec. 13 at Glendale, Ariz.

Higbee and Ramsey were held out after testing positive hours before the game, though the Rams said later that Higbee was a false positive. Higbee was activated to the roster in the days after the game but he subsequently returned to the list.

Henderson, Beckham, Ramsey and Miller were activated to the roster in the days leading up to — and in Miller’s case the day of — Tuesday’s 20-10 victory over the Seahawks at SoFi Stadium, which moved the Rams into a first-place tie with the Cardinals in the NFC West.

Havenstein was activated to the roster this week.

Running back Cam Akers, who suffered an Achilles injury in July, practiced for the first time Friday. He will not play Sunday but is expected to aim toward the end of the season and playoffs.

The Times’ Sam Farmer analyzes each matchup and predicts the winners of Week 16 of the 2021 NFL season.

Star defensive lineman Aaron Donald said it was good to have players back.

“Everybody’s locked in and we got a good day on the field of practice,” he said, “so we’re ready.”

Have the Rams put the coronavirus behind?

“I hope so, but I don’t know,” Ramsey said. “I don’t think anybody knows, but hopefully.”


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