The Bears still have playoff positioning to play for this Sunday on the road against the Vikings, and they’ll have to do it while being cautious with some of their best skill talent.
Pro Bowl safety Eddie Jackson did not participate in Friday’s practice at Halas Hall and is officially listed as doubtful for the Bears’ regular season finale with his sprained ankle. Meanwhile, Allen Robinson, who suffered a ribs injury against the 49ers, also didn’t participate and isn’t likely to feature either. Factor in Aaron Lynch and a lingering elbow injury and you have a bit of a banged up football team that could use a breather.
Fortunately, the games don’t get really meaningful for the Bears until next weekend, so they can afford to sit this trio of doubtful players as necessary.
Defensive lineman Bilal Nichols was listed as questionable after being limited this week with his knee injury.
In positive injury news, Kyle Long was “pretty much” in full practice this week, according to NBC Sports Chicago’s JJ Stankevitz. He’s progressed exactly how the Bears would like in return from a right foot ailment suffered in October. Long’s activation off of injured reserve to play in his first game in over two months on Sunday is no guarantee, but it certainly looks like a tangible possibility. That’s a big break for the Bears’ offensive line and team as a whole that could use a morale boost in accordance with the comeback of one of their leaders.
On the Vikings’ side of matters, fullback C.J. Ham, cornerback Marcus Sherels, linebacker Eric Kendricks, and receiver Chad Beebe were all definitively ruled out. Two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Xavier Rhodes is questionable along with former Bears depth offensive lineman Tom Compton.
If the Bears win, they open themselves to the possibility of a Wild Card date with the Eagles, along with the slim chance of a first-round bye. If the Vikings win, they lock themselves into a matchup with Chicago. Unfortunately, most of these mentioned players on both sides won’t be a factor in that ultimate playoff decision.
Robert is the Editor-in-chief of The Blitz Network (subscribe here!), the managing editor of Windy City Gridiron, and writes for a host of other fine publications. You can follow him on Twitter @RobertZeglinski.