Green Bay Packers WRs Randall Cobb, Marquez Valdes-Scantling return to practice

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Aaron Rodgers could have most, if not all, of his receivers back in time for the playoffs -- and possibly before the regular season ends. That's because two key Packers receivers, Randall Cobb and Marquez Valdes-Scantling, returned to practice on Thursday.

Cobb underwent core muscle surgery a little more than a month ago and ran routes at what appeared to be close to full speed during the portion of practice open to reporters, and Valdes-Scantling was activated off the reserve/COVID-19 list after missing Saturday's victory over the Cleveland Browns.

Valdes-Scantling will be available for Sunday's penultimate regular-season game against the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field. Cobb's return to game action could be at least another week away. The Packers typically like to ease back players who have been designated to return from injured reserve. In fact, cornerback Jaire Alexander was added to the 53-man roster this week from injured reserve but is not expected to play on Sunday against the Vikings, coach Matt LaFleur said Thursday.

Cobb was in the midst of his best game of the season when he got hurt with four catches for 95 yards and a touchdown in the first half against the Los Angeles Rams on Nov. 28. He underwent surgery days later during the Packers' bye week. At the time of his injury, Cobb ranked third on the team in catches (28), second in receiving yards (375) and tied for the lead in touchdowns (five).

Cobb, who returned to the Packers this past summer after two seasons away, had been one of Rodgers' security blankets on third down. Twelve of Cobb's catches have come on third down, with 10 converted to first downs.

"He said, 'Don't worry, I'll be back,'" Packers receivers coach Jason Vrable said that Cobb told him shortly after the injury. "And for some people, it could have maybe been season-ending. But for him, he told me that, and he's that type of guy where I knew if anybody's going to come back, it's going to be him. He doesn't want to miss this playoff opportunity and he's just excited about it."

Valdes-Scantling now ranks second on the team in receiving yards (427) and averages a team-high 17.1 yards per catch.

Davante Adams is far and away the Packers' top receiver with 106 catches for 1,362 yards and 10 touchdowns.