Noots' Notes: Week 16 Injury Analysis

Michael Nudo breaks down the bumps and bruises by taking a close look at Friday's final injury report, as the Chicago Bears face the Minnesota Vikings in Week 16 at Soldier Field.

Chicago Bears

Player Injury Status
DE Adewale Ogunleye Leg OUT
S Kevin Payne Ankle Doubtful
DE Gaines Adams Ankle Questionable
S Al Afalava Knee Questionable
WR Devin Hester Calf Questionable
P Brad Maynard Groin Questionable
DT Tommie Harris Knee Probable
OT Orlando Pace Groin Probable
RB Adrian Peterson Illness Probable
OT Chris Williams Ankle Probable

Minnesota Vikings

Player Injury Status
DT Pat Williams Elbow Questionable
G Steve Hutchinson Shoulder Probable
DE Brian Robison Quadriceps Probable
CB Antoine Winfield Foot Probable

Bears Offense vs. Vikings Defense
Wide receiver Devin Hester's calf should be healed up enough for him to play Monday night. His return to action will impact the rotation at wide receiver, where Devin Aromashodu had gotten the majority of Jay Cutler's attention over the last two weeks. Orlando Pace's groin injury allowed Chris Williams to switch from right to left tackle and for Kevin Shaffer to start on the right side. Pace is expected to remain in a reserve role. Keep an eye on how Williams fares against top pass rusher Jared Allen and how much help is given to him by the tight end and running backs. If Williams is going to be the future at left tackle, he'll need to show something against Allen. Meanwhile, Shaffer's matchup with Ray Edwards is worth checking in on as well.

Massive defensive tackle Pat Williams has an elbow injury that shouldn't keep him out for Monday. He'll face off again with Olin Kreutz. Williams has been openly disrespectful of Kreutz dating back to his days as a Buffalo Bill. If he is limited at all, Jimmy Kennedy will see some action. Kennedy spent a few games with the Bears in 2007. Penn State teammates Kennedy, Michael Haynes and Anthony Adams have all modeled the navy and orange at one time or another.


OT Kevin Shaffer
Getty Images: Elsa

The Vikings defense is in the top 10 in rushing yards allowed, total yards allowed and points allowed. While many will focus correctly on Allen's 13.5 sacks, keep in mind that they have 43 for the season and can get to the quarterback with Edwards (6.5) and Kevin Williams (6). The Vikings' pass defense has been average. If the Bears are going to have any chance, they'll need to find matchups in the passing game they can exploit and make sure Cutler stays clean and keeps a cool head.

Vikings Offense vs. Bears Defense
Wide receiver Percy Harvin is trying to get over a bout with migraines to return as a game-breaking receiver and return specialist. Former Bear Bernard Berrian has been a disappointment this year (50 receptions, 510 yards, four touchdowns), suffering from a lingering hamstring injury. The breakout performer for the Vikings has been Sidney Rice. Rice has 71 catches for 1,144 yards and five TDs. The South Carolina product has really blossomed in his third season as a professional.

Defensive end Adewale Ogunleye was lost for the season in last week's game with a leg fracture. It's not saying much, but he has been the closest thing the Bears have had to a dominating pass rusher since Rosevelt Colvin. Ogunleye is a free agent after the season and may have played his last game as a Bear. His injury will allow an audition for Gaines Adams, Mark Anderson and possibly rookie Jarron Gilbert. Safeties Al Afalava (knee) and Kevin Payne (ankle) are banged up. If either cannot play, Danieal Manning is likely to return to the lineup.

How many ways are there to die? Brett Favre should have no problem exploiting the Bears' soft coverage at the line or the gaping holes in the zones. Meanwhile, Adrian Peterson will be looking to have a dominant game down the stretch to put an exclamation point on another fine season. The Bears' 25th-ranked run defense isn't likely to pose many obstacles. In the red zone, keep an eye out for tight end Visanthe Shiancoe and his nine receiving touchdowns.


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Michael Nudo writes his Injury Analysis feature during the season every week for BearReport.com. E-mail him at mr.noots@live.com.


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