Free Press sports writers Dave Birkett and Carlos Monarrez break down the season with their annual holiday gifting for the Detroit Lions.
Dave Birkett and Carlos Monarrez, Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Lions’ receiving corps is so thin that now they’re onto the replacement for the replacement.

The Lions placed wide receiver Bruce Ellington and safety Charles Washington on injured reserve Saturday, the third and fourth players they’ve lost to IR this week.

Ellington, who signed in early November, has played as the Lions’ primary slot receiver since the late-October trade of Golden Tate. He had 23 catches in four games with the Lions this year, but was ruled out for the second straight week Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings with a hamstring injury.

More: Lions vs. Vikings predictions: Miracle won’t happen

The Lions signed Chris Lacy off their practice squad to take Ellington’s spot on the roster, though undrafted rookie Brandon Powell is expected to see additional work at slot receiver in Ellington’s place.

Last month, the Lions also placed wide receiver Marvin Jones on IR with a knee injury.

The Lions also signed cornerback Dee Virgin off the practice squad to replace Washington, who was slated to miss his second straight game with a hamstring injury.

Washington had been one of the Lions’ best special-teams players this season.

More: Bruce Ellington won’t stop, even with part of hamstring missing

The Lions (5-9) play the Minnesota Vikings (7-6-1) in their home finale Sunday. The Lions are out of playoff contention and guaranteed to have their first losing season since 2015.

The Vikings need a win Sunday and a loss or tie by the Philadelphia Eagles and a loss by Washington to clinch a playoff berth.

More on Lions:

Win or lose Sunday, they have a lot of work ahead for 2019

NFL spotlight, plus mental-health issues, can be dangerous combination

Contact Dave Birkett: Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett. Download our Lions Xtra app for free on Apple and Android!