Patriots receiver Malcolm Mitchell returned to practice Wednesday, his first since September 6, via Mike Reiss of ESPN. He has spent the season on injured reserve. Mitchell has 21 days to practice before the Patriots must make a decision whether to activate him, but he is eligible to re-join the 53-player roster at anytime. Mitchell could help New England in the playoffs, even though the Patriots have receivers Brandin Cooks, Chris Hogan, Danny Amendola, Phillip Dorsett, Kenny Britt and special teams captain Matthew Slater.