Will Bears sit starters vs Vikings? ‘Big-picture-wise, we’re going there to play’
As he has all week, Nagy spoke vaguely about trying to win the game while acknowledging some young players will get a chance to prove themselves.
Coach Matt Nagy ended the Bears’ final practice Friday with one message.
“Opportunities,” he said. “We know that we have one more. . . . We have one more chance. Let’s go do whatever we can to win.”
The season finale Sunday at Minnesota has no stakes. The Vikings will finish as the sixth seed in the NFC playoffs regardless of what they do against the Bears, who are merely fighting to reach .500.
As he has all week, Nagy spoke vaguely Friday about trying to win the game while acknowledging some young players will get a chance to prove themselves.
“We’re just going to go about it playing our guys, and again, if there’s a position here or there that we feel like we want to take a look at, we might do that,” he said. “But big-picture-wise, we’re going there to play.”
Nagy said that has little to do with the Vikings’ plans. Vikings coach Mike Zimmer told reporters Friday he wasn’t sure if he would sit starting quarterback Kirk Cousins. The Vikings have already ruled out linebacker Eric Kendricks and running back Dalvin Cook.
“It’s always a catch-22 because you always want to go out and play well,” said Zimmer, whose team lost to the Packers on Monday night. “You don’t want to get anybody hurt. You want to start focusing on the new season that’s coming up in a week. There’s been a lot of consternation, I guess, in trying to figure everything out.”
Clues about which young players the Bears might test out can be found in the injury report. As expected, they ruled out defensive end Akiem Hicks (elbow), nose tackle Eddie Goldman (concussion) and receiver Taylor Gabriel (concussion). Cornerback Prince Amukamara is questionable with a hamstring problem, while right tackle Bobby Massie and right guard Rashaad Coward are doubtful with ankle and knee injuries, respectively.
If Amukamara plays, he figures to continue rotating with second-year cornerback Kevin Toliver.
Undrafted rookie guard Alex Bars figures to start for Coward over veteran Ted Larsen, who replaced Coward when he was hurt during the Chiefs game but isn’t under contract next season.
“I’ve been working this week as if I was playing each and every rep,” Bars said.
The Bears want to see what they have in Bars, who played for offensive line coach Harry Hiestand at Notre Dame. He would have been drafted had he not torn his knee as a senior in September 2018. He had surgery a month later.
“That would be huge for me,” Bars said. “Obviously, my fifth year in college didn’t go the way I wanted to.”