Grossman To Start For Chicago

The Vikings caught a break from the Bears Wednesday, as the team announced rookie Rex Grossman will make his first NFL start vs. the Vikings Sunday.

When John Elway, viewed as one of the greatest NFL quarterbacks of all time, made his first start, he was pretty awful. So was Brett Favre. In fact, just about every rookie quarterback thrown to the wolves has struggled early on. And those were first-round locks for success.

Rex Grossman comes with no such guarantee. The 22nd pick in this year's draft, Grossman was announced Wednesday as the starter for the Bears vs. the Vikings. Chicago, which was officially eliminated from playoff competition by a Vikings win and its own loss last weekend, has decided their quarterback of the future is now the QB of the present.

The news couldn't come at a better time for the Vikings. Expect to see George O'Leary and his defensive charges calling blitz after blitz and disguise coverages to create turnovers and rattle the youngster, who hasn't started a game since last January.

In a rivalry that hasn't seen one team concede anything to the other, giving the Vikings the gift of an NFL newbie could be the critical turn the Vikings need to beat Chicago and win the NFC North. It's our kind of town (for now), Chicago is.

THURSDAY NOTES
* The Vikings plowed off the practice field at Winter Park Wednesday and will be conducting outdoor practices to acclimate players to what looks to be bad weather Sunday at Soldier Field.
* Both Michael Bennett and Moe Williams practiced Wednesday and are listed as probable on the team's depth chart, along with TE Jim Kleinsasser (bicep), DT Billy Lyon (calf) and CB Rushen Jones (ankle).
* As if things won't be difficult enough for the Bears offense with a rookie quarterback, the two starters on the left side of the offensive line both missed practice Wednesday with injuries -- tackle Wayne Gandy with a shoulder injury and guard Chris Villarrial with a side injury.

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