Out for over a year with a torn Achilles, Lions defensive end Romeo Okwara is indeed lined up to make his debut on Sunday against the Vikings.
Buried within the headlines the Detroit Lions roookie wide receiver Jameson Williams began to practice and was added to the active roster was how they’d also activated defensive end Romeo Okwara. Williams played last week against Jacksonville, of course, while Okwara did not.
Early this past week Lions head coach Dan Campbell suggested Okwara was held out an extra week as a precaution, and there was a good chance he’d play Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings.
On Friday, Campbell expressed confidence Okwara will indeed suit up on Sunday.
"I don’t know how many snaps he’ll get, but certainly, we see him going and having a role for us,” Campbell said."
After a 14-month layoff, Okwara is ready to go.
"I like to pass rush a little bit,” Okwara said with a big smile. “But really just anything they ask of me. It’s my first game back so really just looking for whatever coach asks me to do, I’ll be up for it."
Romeo Okwara returning to help Lions pass rush
Okwara led the Lions with 10 sacks in 2020, and he was rewarded with a three-year, $37 million contract. Four games into the new deal, Week 4 last season against the Chicago Bears, he suffered a torn Achilles and has been out ever since.
The Lions are toward the bottom of the league with 22 sacks this season. Beyond raw sack production, consistently putting heat on opposing passers has been a problem for much of the season. Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins is not mobile or especially effective against pressure, so getting to him regularly will be a key for Detroit’s defense on Sunday.
Okwara probably won’t play much more than 10 snaps on Sunday. But he will be a welcome addition to a Lions’ defense that hasn’t been a total pushover lately.