The first set of buses will be loading up soon to take us to Soldier Field for tonight’s Vikings-Bears game. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 CT and the game will be televised by ESPN. You can also join us on vikings.com for a live chat. We’ll start the chat just a few minutes prior to kickoff.
It’s a unique experience to play on Monday Night Football, especially on the road. Since I’m not wrapped up in meetings all day as the players and coaches are, a Monday night game on the road allows for several hours of free time in the opposing team’s city. And when the opposing city is Chicago, a few hours of free time is nice.
It’s also different to watch the rest of the NFL begin to digest the games from the day before and begin the process of moving on to next week. We’re still wrapped up in Week 16 while everyone else has Week 17 on their mind.
As for the game tonight, injuries might play a factor before we even kick the ball off. The Vikings look to be in pretty good shape heading into the game. Just 4 players were on the injury report this week and 3 of them – Steve Hutchinson (back), Brian Robison (quadriceps) and Antoine Winfield (foot) – are probable. The 4th – DT Pat Williams (elbow) is questionable but to be honest, I’d be surprised if he can’t go for this one.
The Bears have a different injury situation, however, and it’ll be worth watching in the moments leading up to kickoff. When the practice week came to a close on Friday, a total of 13 players had at one point or another been on the report. Friday’s injury report contained 10 players, including DE Adewale Ogunleye.
Ogunleye has since been placed on injured reserve because of a broken leg and the Bears signed P Richmond McGee to take Ogunleye’s place on the roster. The reason for signing a punter is because the Bears starting punter, Brad Maynard, is one of those 13 players who was on this week’s injury report; he’s questionable with a left groin ailment (ouch).
DT Tommie Harris, OT Orlando Pace, RB Adrian Peterson and OT Chris Williams were all listed as probable on Friday’s injury report, so I expect they’ll all be able to go tonight. But S Kevin Payne was listed as doubtful and the following players were listed as questionable: DE Gaines Adams, S Al Afalava, WR Devin Hester and Maynard.
Some of those missing players represent significant pieces for the Bears. QB Jay Cutler would certainly like to have Hester available as he goes up against one of the stingiest rushing defenses in the NFL and with Ogunleye already out, the Bears defense could use Adams for depth in the rotation along the defensive line. Since Payne is doubtful, missing Afalava does nothing to help the Bears secondary against Brett Favre, Percy Harvin, Sidney Rice and Co.
Long story short, we’ll have a lot to look for once we get to about 6:00 p.m., which is when the Vikings and Bears are required by the NFL to submit their list of inactive players.
Tags: Pat Williams
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 1 Comment »