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Chiefs make key roster moves ahead of Sunday night matchup vs. Raiders

Wide receiver Sammy Watkins will not play in the Sunday night showcase.

NFL: New England Patriots at Kansas City Chiefs Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Chiefs made several key roster moves on Saturday as the team prepares to face the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday Night Football. The team announced the moves via its official Twitter account.

Wide receiver Sammy Watkins has been downgraded from questionable to out for the game. Watkins injured his hamstring in the Chiefs’ Week 5 game against the Raiders. The Chiefs gave him a full participation mark for his Wednesday practice, but he likely suffered a setback, as he was limited the rest of the week.

The Chiefs have activated cornerback L’Jarius Sneed and defensive end Alex Okafor, as was expected. Sneed suffered a broken collarbone in the team’s Week 3 win over the Ravens, and Okafor injured his hamstring in the Chiefs’ Week 6 win over the Bills. Sneed and Okafor fill the roster spots of defensive end Taco Charlton and right tackle Mitch Schwartz, who are headed to injured reserve.

Charlton fractured his ankle in the Chiefs’ Week 9 win over the Carolina Panthers, and he self-reported he would be having surgery to repair the fracture. Schwartz has had an injured back since Week 6, but the Chiefs did not put him on injured reserve until Saturday, likely hoping for the best. Now both will be out for at least the next three weeks.

According to ESPN’s Field Yates, the Chiefs are planning to host offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski on a visit given the injuries along the offensive line. Friend-of-the-site Terez Paylor of Yahoo! Sports added that the Chiefs are expected to sign Wisniewski to the practice squad, then promote him to the active roster — similar to the reported plan with cornerback DeAndre Baker.

Wisniewski started two regular-season games and three playoff games at left guard down the stretch last season en route to the Chiefs’ Super Bowl championship. Wisniewski left in free agency to join his hometown Pittsburgh Steelers, but he injured his pec in Pittsburgh’s first game against the New York Giants and was eventually waived.

For the second game in a row, the Chiefs have elevated practice squad wide receiver Gehrig Dieter and offensive lineman Bryan Witzmann. The Chiefs can elevate two players thanks to the NFL’s new roster rules for 2020.

Finally, wide receiver Mecole Hardman was activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list, which could help soften the blow of not having Watkins in the lineup. It’s worth noting Hardman could not practice all week leading into the game.

As far as we know, offensive lineman Martinas Rankin currently remains on the reserve/COVID-19 list.