The Patriots activated Mankins on Saturday and dumped cornerback Terrence Wheatley, a second-round draft choice in 2008. They also lopped linebacker Tyrone McKenzie, a 2009 third-round pick, from the practice squad.
Wheatley didn't play a game this year after suffering a foot injury in training camp.
Wheatley's release is another mark on New England's 2008 draft class. While the Patriots found a rookie of the year when they took Jerod Mayo 10th overall, they've released their next three picks: Wheatley (62nd overall), linebacker Shawn Crable (78th overall), quarterback Kevin O'Connell (94th overall).
McKenzie tore a knee ligament in rookie camp last year and missed his entire first season. He cleared waivers in training camp and was placed on the taxi squad.