Bennett Could Play; Peppers Doubtful

Bears wide receiver Earl Bennett could make his return to the field on Sunday, while defensive end Julius Peppers is unlikely to play. Plus the rest of the Chicago/Minnesota injury report.

Last week, Chicago Bears GM Jerry Angelo said that wide receiver Earl Bennett, who has been out with an injured chest since early in the team's Week 2 game against the New Orleans Saints, was still a few weeks away from returning. He said it would likely be after the club's Week 8 bye.

Yet Bennett suited up yesterday and practiced on a limited basis. Today, he went full go. The Bears have him listed as questionable on Friday's official injury report. Chicago's passing offense, ranked 23rd in the league, could use the shot in the arm Bennett would provide. He's a sure-handed possession receiver who excels working underneath and someone with whom Jay Cutler feels very comfortable.

The Bears will likely err on the side of caution with Bennett but could be more inclined to let him suit up considering the play of the other receivers.

Defensive end Julius Peppers, who suffered a knee injury against Detroit, hasn't practiced all week and is listed as doubtful. It's unlikely he'll play.

It appears the Bears will be sliding Henry Melton from tackle to end to replace Peppers. Melton played end in college and during his first few years in the NFL. Amobi Okoye will start at defensive tackle.

Corey Wootton is listed as probably but isn't expected to play. Nick Reed and Mario Addison will fill out the rotation at defensive end.

RT Gabe Carimi and DT Matt Toeaina are both listed as out for this week's game. Lance Louis will slide outside from his usual guard position to replace Carimi. Chris Spencer, who does not appear on the injury report, will start at right guard.

Toeaina's injury opens the door for rookie DT Stephen Paea, who has been inactive for the first five games this season. He'll likely be activated and worked into the defensive tackle rotation, mainly at nose guard. Anthony Adams will start in Toeaina's place.

The Vikings will most likely be without starting CB Antoine Winfield, who is listed as doubtful. This will help Jay Cutler and company attack Minnesota's 25th ranked passing defense. On the offensive side of the ball, WR Percy Harvin is listed as questionable with a rib injury but is expected to play.

The Vikings are relatively healthy otherwise.

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Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit and become a Chicago Bears insider.

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