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Predicting the Steelers’ inactive list for Thursday night vs. the Vikings

The Steelers have 53 players on the roster, but they are currently two offensive linemen short.

NFL: NOV 28 Steelers at Bengals Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers have a short week after a big win. With one player currently on the Reserve/COVID-19 List, the Steelers have the chance to use a Covid replacement along with two practice squad elevations to add to the 53 players currently on the roster. With four players already ruled out for Sunday but the Steelers currently with only six of the needed eight offensive linemen available, there will likely be three healthy scratches of seven inactive players. The Steelers have until Thursday afternoon to make elevations or any other adjustments to the roster before the game.

The rules in the 2021 season when it comes to the players active on game day have been carried over from last season. As long as a team has eight offensive lineman who will be dressing for the game, they could have 48 players on their active roster rather than the 46 in previous seasons. If the Steelers elevate any players from their practice squad (not sign them to the active roster), their inactive list would increase by the same number of players. With moves definitely coming on Thursday, we’ll look at the possibilities of how things could play out.

Game Status

CB Joe Haden (foot)
DT Isaiah Buggs (ankle)
G B.J. Finney (back)
LB Robert Spillane (knee)

Here are the possibilities to end up inactive for the Steelers against the Vikings on Thursday:


CB Joe Haden- I was hopeful Haden would be back for the Bengals game, but now it seems perhaps the extended break after the Thursday night game might give him a chance for Week 14. That’s a best case scenario.

DT Isaiah Buggs- Just like last week, I don’t know if Buggs would have got a helmet even if he were healthy. But he’s not, so the question is irrelevant.

G B.J. Finney- Injured on the third offensive play of the game on Sunday, the extent of Finney‘s injury is unknown at this time and landing on the Reserve/Injured List even before Thursday’s game is not out of the question.

LB Robert Spillane- Coming off the Reserve/COVID-19 List this week, Spillane can at least now get treatment at the Steelers facility as he tries to come back from his knee injury.

Most Likely:

QB Dwayne Haskins- Another game, another week, another Dwayne Haskins inactive.


RB Anthony McFarland Jr.- Not active last week as the Steelers had a kickoff returner with Ray-Ray McCloud back in the lineup, I don’t know that McFarland is going to get a helmet again unless there’s an injury.

DT Carlos Davis- Even though he’s back from injured reserve, the Steelers have been doing fine with five defensive lineman and likely won’t need to call on Davis this week.


LB Buddy Johnson- Even though Robert Spillane is out, it’s not impossible for the Steelers to dress one less inside linebacker. Johnson played 18 special team snaps last week which was second most on the team and he added a tackle. It’s unlikely he wouldn’t get a helmet this week.

DT Henry Mondeaux- If the Steelers really wanted Carlos Davis back, they could pick another defensive tackle tonight dress. I threw Mondoeax’s name in here as an example of someone else who could be inactive instead, I just don’t see it happening at this time.

TE Kevin Rader- I doubt the Steelers would want to only have two tight ends available, even through they have done it before.

Projected Inactive List:

  1. Joe Haden
  2. Isaiah Buggs
  3. B.J. Finney
  4. Robert Spillane
  5. Dwayne Haskins
  6. Carlos Davis
  7. Anthony McFarland

Being a short week, I believe the safest bet is to have three players who were healthy scratches from last week along with the four players who were already ruled out. The biggest question is how the Steelers are going to add two linemen to the roster. They could simply just elevate them from the practice squad, and one could even be a Covid replacement for Joe Haeg. If Haeg were to come off the Reserve/COVID-19 List before the game, the Steelers will have to make another roster move in order to free up the space for him to be on there.

I see the Steelers elevating Chaz Green and Rashaad Coward this week to get up to eight lineman. Exactly how they’re going to get them there is the only thing that remains to be seen.

As always, feel free to list your projected inactives in the comments below.