After missing Bryant McKinnie for the first four games, the Vikings are expected to get WR Sidney Rice back this week, putting the offense at full strength for the first time this year.
The Vikings expect to have the full starting offense on the field for the first time this season when the Vikes meet the Chicago Bears
Sunday. Minnesota was without Bryant McKinnie
for the first games and has played largely without wide receiver Sidney Rice
since Week 2.
After being sidelined with a strained posterior cruciate ligament since the home opener against Indianapolis, Rice proclaimed himself ready to play this week, which is good news for a Vikings offense that has struggled to consistently produce on offense.
In Rice's absence, Aundrae Allison
has seen considerably more playing time, but Rice's return will likely move Bobby Wade
into the slot position full-time when the Vikings use three-receiver sets. Considering how banged up the Bears secondary is (see below), Chicago appears vulnerable in the passing game. Given that the Bears are likely to stack the box to slow down Adrian Peterson
, who ripped them for 224 yards rushing and touchdown runs of 35, 67 and 73 yards last year at Soldier Field, there should be chances deep downfield for the Vikings to make plays.
It's taken seven weeks, but Sunday the Vikings should have all 11 starters that they want on the field to be there at the same time. Hopefully, the results will meet the expectations.
The final injury reports came out after Friday's practice and the Vikings have already ruled out LB David Herron with a hip injury. Four other players - Bernard Berrian (knee), Erin Henderson (knee), Rice (knee) and Madieu Williams (neck) are listed as questionable. Two others - Jim Kleinsasser (foot) and Benny Sapp (hamstring) are listed as probable. Both Kleinsasser and Sapp took part fully in Friday's practice, while the four players listed as questionable took part on a limited basis. Herron was the only player who didn't practice all week.
The Bears have a whopping 15 players on their injury report. The team has already ruled out wide receiver Brandon Lloyd and safety Danieal Manning. Three other corners - starters Nathan Vasher and Charles Tillman and backup Trumaine McBride - are all listed as questionable. Six other Bears are listed as probable, including wide receivers Marty Booker and Rashied Davis, defensive tackle Tommie Harris and punter Brad Maynard.