The Bears placed cornerback Jaylon Johnson and safety Tashaun Gipson on the reserve/COVID-19 list Sunday, further depleting their already short-handed roster for Monday night’s game against the Vikings.
With the addition of Johnson and Gipson, the Bears have 14 players on the reserve/COVID-19 list. That includes their entire starting secondary — cornerbacks Johnson and Artie Burns, safeties Gipson and Eddie Jackson and nickel cornerback Duke Shelley, who is on injured reserve and had returned to practice Thursday before being put on the reserve/COVID-19 list Friday.
Cornerback Kindle Vildor, who started the first 10 games before being benched in favor of Burns, is active.
Vaccinated, asymptomatic players on the reserve/COVID-19 list can still be activated for the game under relaxed return-to-play rules recently negotiated between the NFL and the NFL Players Association. But it is less likely that players who were put on the reserve/COVID on Sunday would be able to meet the requirements.
The Bears’ reserve/COVID-19 players also include wide receiver Allen Robinson, right tackle Larry Borom, quarterback Andy Dalton, tight end Jesse James, defensive end Joel Iyiegbuniwe and defensive end Mario Edwards.
The Bears’ biggest issue, pending the availability of reserve/COVID-19 players, is in the secondary. With safety DeAndre Houston-Carson (broken arm) and cornerback Xavier Crawford (concussion) out for Monday night’s game, the only available secondary players on the roster are cornerbacks Vildor and Teez Tabor and safeties Deon Bush and Marqui Christian.
The Bears likely will have to dip into their practice squad pool to fill in. They have four defensive backs on their practice squad: Cornerbacks Thomas Graham, Jr., Michael Joseph, Thakarius Keyes and Dee Virgin.