After practicing back-to-back days for the first time since he suffered a bruised knee in the season opener, Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford could be back in the starting lineup for Monday night's game against the Bears at Soldier Field.
Vikings backup Case Keenum has played well while starting the previous three games (94.4 passer rating), and Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio says preparation is the same regardless of who's taking the snaps.
"Their offense hasn't changed at all with Keenum in there," Fangio said. "They're running exactly the same offense, and Keenum's done a very nice job running it. They're in a good spot. They've got two good quarterbacks. They've got a quality backup, and obviously Bradford's good."
Former-Ram Bradford set an NFL record by completing 71.6 percent of his passes last year in his first season with the Vikings. He threw 20 TD passes and just 5 interceptions for a 99.3 passer rating. In his only game this season, Bradford posted a 143.0 passer rating, completing 27 of 32 passes (84.4 percent) for 346 yards with 3 touchdown passes and no interceptions.
In two games against the Vikings last year as a rookie, Bears running back Jordan Howard rushed 49 times for 288 yards, a 5.1-yard average.
"We know they're definitely going to be out after us this year because we ran the ball with a lot of success last year," Howard said. "They're definitely going to try to take that away from us."
In the first meeting, a 20-10 Bears victory on Oct. 31 at Soldier Field, Howard had a 2-yard TD run among his 26 carries for 153 yards.
"I just remember it was a big game," Howard said. "They'd been saying how good the defense was and how nobody could really run the ball on them. So we were excited for the challenge."
With 11 days in between the Week Four pummeling in Green Bay and Monday night's game at home vs. the Vikings, Howard has had an opportunity to recover from a shoulder bruise that has nagged him for several weeks.
"It did wonders for my shoulder," he said of the long break. "I feel a lot better. In a few weeks I'll be good to go with no pain at all."
Fly the W:
Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio is an avid baseball fan, and he likes the Cubs' chances after speaking with manager Joe Maddon last week at Wrigley Field.
"I got the game plan from him," Fangio said, smiling. "He's feeling good. I like where the Cubs are at. They've got a good team, a bunch of good players. Washington's got good pitching. If Washington's pitching doesn't dominate, I like where the Cubs are headed."
Outside linebacker Willie Young (triceps) did not practice Friday after being limited a day earlier, and inside linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski (chest) remained out of practice.
Defensive lineman Akiem Hicks (foot) and center Hroniss Grasu (hand) were limited.
For the Vikings, quarterback Sam Bradford (knee) and safety Andrew Sendejo (shoulder/illness) were limited.
Coming and going:
Linebacker Howard Jones was signed to the practice squad and defensive lineman Mike Purcell was waived.
Howard played in 20 games with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the previous two seasons, including five starts in 2015 when he had 5 sacks, 9 quarterback hurries, 1 forced fumble and 1 fumble recovery.
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