Kickoff Countdown

The Bears on the verge of the season opener (Noon-Sunday) and the team is as healthy as it's been in months with several veterans past injuries that have held them out of some portion of training camp.

Jim Miller practice for a second straight day following limited action due to a recovering sprained ankle.

Offensive coordinator John Shoop said Miller's lack of mobility would not alter the game plan in any way.

"I know there's a little bit of soreness there and there's probably going to be for a while, but it didn't show up on the field, so that was a very positive thing," said head coach Dick Jauron about Miller's game readiness.

Backup DT Christian Peter, who fractured his right thumb in the preseason finale, returned to practice Thursday. Jauron said he anticipated Peter would be ready for Sunday.

Right guard Chris Villarrial practiced again on Thursday and despite being listed as questionable on Wednesday's injury report will likely start against Minnesota.

Mike Brown has been practicing all week, but is still wearing a protective pad on his healing right hand.

Pick on the New Guy: New starting cornerback Jerry Azumah will be going up against the most explosive player in the game according to his defensive coordinator Greg Blache.

Although, Azumah has started 11 games over the past three seasons this year he is expected to be a consistent performer.

As one of two new starters on the defense Azumah will likely by challenged by the Viking offense.

"I think every team tries to find a weakness in the defense," Azumah said. "They try to find a new guy and try to exploit him. I can't be worried about that. I know they're going to come toward me they're going to challenge me, but I'm ready for the challenge."

Chicago swept the season series against Minnesota in 2001 including a 17-10 victory in week two, which evened the Bears record at 1-1.

"That's going to definitely set the tone for the rest of the season," Azumah said. "We beat Minnesota two times last season and I know they didn't forget that, so they're going to be after us."


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