The New England Patriots are adding another running back without needing to pick him up off the waiver wire, or trading any valuable pieces. Rex Burkhead was activated by the Pats from the injured reserve earlier this week and he's said to be getting ready to play on Sunday. The former Nebraska football star was placed on the IR on September 26 after appearing in just three games this season and starting two of them. He suffered an injury in the Pats' game against the Detroit Lions and has been sitting out with a bad neck ever since.

Rex Burkhead had a good start to the year before he got hurt

The injury to the Patriots' running back was especially frustrating for the former Huskers because it looked like he was aligned for a big year. He started New England's first game of the year and did quite well in that game. In that contest, he had 18 carries for 64 yards. He also had one catch for five yards. While that wasn't exactly a dominating performance, it was certainly good enough to make it appear as though he was going to be in for one heck of a 2018 season.

His second game showed why it's sometimes hard to know just what you're going to get from a New England Patriots' running back. Week two saw him get just six carries for 22 yards.

It was that third game that robbed him of being able to show what he could do as the season goes on. For one shining moment, it looked like this was going to be the year Burkhead finally showed he not only belonged in the NFL but also belonged in the starting lineup. Now he has to prove it all over again, with a shorter window to create that proof.

New England Patriots getting a player back for the stretch run

The Pats, sitting at 8-3 on the season are getting ready to begin their final march to the playoffs. They will be starting that march against another team that is attempting to make it to the postseason. The Minnesota Vikings thought they were going to be a shoo-in to win the NFC Central.

While they are still winning more than they're losing, they aren't winning at the pace they had hoped. Sitting at 6-4-1, they are going to need to beat the Patriots in order to really have a great shot at going to the postseason. It's certainly not clear just how much Rex Burkhead is going to play against the Vikings. The New England Patriots are not a team that has clinched the playoffs just yet. While they certainly seem well set for the postseason they need a win here or there to get there. The former Nebraska football star could definitely help get them there.