With Vasher out, Vikings catch a break

The last time the Vikings and Bears faced each other, both of the Bears' starting cornerbacks were inactive. The Bears announced Wednesday that Nathan Vasher won't be available again.

One of the many concerns that Vikings fans had about playing the Chicago Bears Sunday night was that the Bears were without both starting cornerbacks in the first meeting and both have since returned to the lineup.

Well, not exactly. Bears coach Lovie Smith announced Wednesday that Nathan Vasher, who missed the first meeting with the Vikings with a wrist and thumb injury, suffered a fractured right hand against St. Louis last Sunday and will miss this week's game and likely more afterward. Smith wouldn't say if Vasher will be heading to the injured reserve list, but did rule him out for this week at a minimum.

His place in the starting lineup will be taken by Corey Graham, who is expected to share time with Trumaine McBride in Vasher's absence.

That's good news for Bernard Berrian's quest to get be on track. Berrian tied a season high with six catches against the Bears on Oct. 19. In the four games since then, he has six catches total.

THANKSGIVING DAY NOTES

  • There is a movement afoot to get the Lions out of annual Thanksgiving Day rotation, despite Detroit playing in the game longer than Dallas – which also gets a Thanksgiving Day game every year. The Lions have been brutal for the last several years, but their 0-11 start this year has been even more dismal. Although they only lost to the Vikings by two points, they have recorded losses by 13, 23, 18, 27, 18, 24 and 18 points in their 11 defeats. In one of those games, they led Green Bay 25-24 in the opening minute of the fourth quarter only to lose 48-25. In last week's game with Tampa Bay, they led 17-0 in the first quarter only to be outscored 38-3 the rest of the way. They have been outscored 188-99 in the first half and have allowed 31 or more points in seven of their 11 losses. Come to think of it, is there a petition we can sign to get them off of Thanksgiving Day?

  • As hard as it might be to believe, the Seattle Seahawks are a bigger underdog than the Lions are to the 10-1 Titans – making this a Thanksgiving that many football fans may contemplate hooking up the Christmas lights before the first big snow comes.

  • The Vikings may be wondering when that rookie wall is going to hit Matt Forte? He's making a strong case to be the NFC's Offensive Rookie of the Year. He has 225 rushes for 909 yards and six touchdowns and has caught 45 passes for 336 yards and three more TDs. To put that into perspective, he has 11 more touches and two more touchdowns than Adrian Peterson. The next highest number of rushing attempts by a Bear is 34 by Kevin Jones – about seven times less than Forte – and nobody else on the Chicago offense has more than 33 receptions.

  • The only Viking who didn't participate in practice Wednesday was Artis Hicks, who was held out with an elbow injury. Five other Vikings participated on a limited basis – Jared Allen (shoulder), Madieu Williams (shoulder), Garrett Mills (ankle), David Herron (shoulder) and Vinny Ciurciu (hand).

  • Ciurciu's right hand was heavily taped Wednesday.

  • Whether a portent of things to come or not, six Bears players did not participate at all in practice Wednesday – Vasher (out with a broken bone in his hand), WR Marty Booker (knee), safety Mike Brown (calf), TE Desmond Clark (knee), DT Tommie Harris (rest) and LB Jamar Williams (groin).

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