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New England Patriots activate Visanthe Shiancoe

The New England Patriots have activated veteran tight end Visanthe Shiancoe from the injured reserve designated to return list, and we could see him play today against the Buffalo Bills. Aaron Hernandez is not expected to play despite practicing every day since Wednesday and having the bye week to heal up on the ankle that suffered a setback.

Shiancoe fits in nicely as the third tight end behind Rob Gronkowski and Daniel Fells, because Aaron Hernandez is, of course, used more often as a receiver and Michael Hoomanawanui is being used as a fullback and H-back instead of as a TE. Shiancoe gives the Patriots a decent blocking TE and a solid pass-catching TE who had three straight seasons of at least 530 receiving yards and 42 catches while with the Minnesota Vikings.

The biggest skill that he will provide to this team is the ability to make plays in the red zone and rack up touchdowns in the end zone. He caught seven touchdown passes in 2008 before going off for 11 TDs a year later, so it will be interesting to see if the Patriots give him some snaps in the red zone.

Daniel Fells will almost definitely see his playing time cut significantly, but I do think he will see more snaps. Fells is a better player than Shiancoe, because he is a terrific blocker and a better receiver than some people give him credit for.

You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.

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Tags: Aaron Hernandez Daniel Fells New England Patriots Visanthe Shiancoe

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