Six weeks after being waived by the Vikings, Shane Zylstra is ready to face them.
The Detroit Lions tight end, a native of Spicer, Minn., was elevated from the practice squad Saturday and is expected to see action at least on special teams against Minnesota on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium.
“He’s very pumped,’’ said Zylstra’s agent, Jayme Moten.
Zylstra was a star wide receiver at Minnesota State Mankato before being undrafted by the NFL in 2020. After spending a year that included switching to tight end, he was signed by the Vikings last May.
Zylstra remained with the Vikings until he was waived on Aug. 31. He played in all three preseason games, and caught one pass for two yards.
After being let go, Zylstra joined Detroit’s practice squad. Sunday will mark the first time he has been elevated for a regular-season game.
“We’re really excited,’’ Moten said. “I think he has found a home in Detroit. He’s very comfortable there and has been exceeding expectations every day, and I just think this is a very good opportunity for him to really show that he deserves to be in the league.’’
Zylstra is the brother of wide receiver Brandon Zylstra, who played with the Vikings in 2018 and is in his third season with the Carolina Panthers. When Brandon played at New London-Spicer High School, Moten was the quarterback. Shane also is a graduate of the school.
Shane Zylstra is expected to have several family members on hand Sunday, including his wife, Gabi, and parents, Marcia and Vonn.
On Oct. 17, the Vikings will run into Brandon Zylstra when they play at Carolina. Entering Sunday’s game against Philadelphia, he has five catches for 107 yards and earlier this season caught his first NFL touchdown pass.
“For the Vikings to cut both of them and they are now both playing on active rosters in back-to-back weeks against them, it’s pretty cool,’’ Moten said.
Two cornerbacks elevated
With Cameron Dantzler and Harrison Hand both on the COVID-19 reserve list, the Vikings on Saturday elevated two cornerbacks off the practice squad for Sunday’s game against Detroit.
Tye Smith was a standard elevation and Parry Nickerson a COVID-19 replacement elevation. Unless Nickerson was signed to the 53-man roster, that was the only way he could be eligible for the game since he already had used his two allowed standard elevations for the season.
The Vikings also elevated off the practice squad guard Dakota Dozier, who is out of standard elevations, as a COVID-19 replacement. In order to create a second spot for a COVID-19 replacement, the Vikings waived wide receiver Dan Chisena, a special-teams ace who had made the team last season as an undrafted rookie free agent.
Chisena, who was activated off injured reserve Wednesday after missing the first four games due to an undisclosed injury, had taken one roster spot after Dantzler was placed on the COVID-19 list Monday and Hand went on it Tuesday. And the Vikings needed two open roster spots to elevate both Nickerson and Dozier to face the Lions at U.S. Bank Stadium.
After he was put on the COVID-19 list, Dantzler tweeted that he was fully vaccinated and would be back on the roster soon. But Vikings coach Mike Zimmer on Wednesday would not confirm that.
Smith, elevated off the practice squad for the first time this season, will provide depth at outside cornerback behind starters Patrick Peterson and Bashaud Breeland and top reserve Kris Boyd. Nickerson will back up nickelback Mackensie Alexander.