BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Buffalo Bills did not elevate practice squad quarterback Matt Barkley to the active roster for Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings, meaning Josh Allen is in line to be active for the game and potentially starting.
Allen, who is dealing with a right elbow injury, and backup Case Keenum are the only quarterbacks on the 53-man roster, but the question remains which player will start.
The Bills elevated running back Duke Johnson and cornerback Xavier Rhodes to the active roster from the practice squad on Saturday. Rhodes provides additional depth with rookie cornerback Kaiir Elam (ankle) listed as doubtful and the uncertainty as to when Tre’Davious White, who has spent the last two weeks as a full participant on the roster, will return from a torn ACL.
Allen was listed as questionable on the injury report for Sunday’s game after being limited in Friday’s practice, when he was seen with a practice jersey on and no sleeve on his right arm. If he starts, he will have participated in only one day of practice after sitting out Wednesday and Thursday.
“We are literally in an hour-to-hour situation here just looking at how he’s going to progress through the day,” coach Sean McDermott said Friday. “And as he goes through these different tests, medically, making sure that he’s able to check the boxes in a progression to where we can see if we can proceed through the course of the day here.”
Allen is dealing with a right elbow injury to the ulnar collateral ligament and related nerves, sources told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen earlier in the week. It happened on the last drive of Sunday’s loss to the New York Jets. He has not missed a game since 2018, when he missed four games with a UCL injury in his right elbow.
If Keenum gets the start, it will be his first with the Bills after being acquired in an offseason trade with the Cleveland Browns. He has seen action this season in games that have gotten out of hand, competing 2 of 7 passing attempts. Keenum won two games with the Browns last year.
“I think we planned for [uncertainty at quarterback] potentially, right from the start. And so, we’ll see where it goes,” McDermott said. “I think the other thing you have to layer in now is potential for weather come game day. And here we go with that in terms of that could be the case for the rest of the season. So, we do the best we can. At the end of the day, Josh needs to be Josh, if he’s able to play. And if Case plays, then Case needs to be Case and run the offense.”
The offense, which has not scored on a passing touchdown in the last six quarters, may change a bit if Allen is not in the lineup. Big overhauls, however, are not expected if Keenum starts.
“I mean, you always want Josh out there. There’s no perfect time for a backup to come in,” center Mitch Morse said. “I mean, I guess there is. But we have extreme confidence in Case, if that’s the way we go. Hopefully he has confidence in us, and we’re just taking it one day at a time, one moment at a time and letting the chips fall where they may.”
Bills don’t elevate third QB; Josh Allen in line to be active
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