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Bears prepare for both Vikings QBs; Sam Bradford returns to practice

By Patrick Finley

Staff Reporter

Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford practiced for the first time since Sept. 21 on Thursday, increasing the odds he’ll start Monday night against the Bears.

Bradford hurt his left knee in the opener but doesn’t have structural damage. He was limited Thursday. “We’ve been basically three weeks without him now,” coach Mike Zimmer said via phone before practice Thursday. “He played great in the first ballgame. He’s getting better every day, so we’ll just kind of have to wait and see.”

Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford hasn't played since Week 1. (AP)

Bears coach John Fox said preparing for two quarterbacks is always a challenge. Fox’s Bears faced Bradford twice last year. Case Keenum is 1-2 since taking over the starting job, but has completed 61-of-100 passes for 755 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.

Bradford was a star in Week 1, completing 27-of-32 passes for 346 yards, three touchdowns and a 143.0 passer rating in a 29-19 win against the Saints. He hasn’t played since.

“One’s a little bit more mobile than the other,” Fox said of Keenum. “But they both spin it, they both have experience and they’ve both had success in their first four games.”

Rookie safety Eddie Jackson last prepared for two quarterbacks in college.

“It’s always difficult because you’re going to have some unscouted looks you’re not going over in practice,” he said. “We have to go out there and play our football, and everything will be all right.”

Bears ready for new RB

After rookie sensation running back Dalvin Cook tore his anterior cruciate ligament Sunday, the Vikings will turn to Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon.

“Dalvin was an exceptional, exceptional back with great big-play ability,” Zimmer said. “I don’t know whether we’ll get the big-play ability out of Latavius. But what we expect him to do is go in there and continue to help the running game as best we can.

“We’ve run the ball pretty decent in the first four ballgames. Again, a lot of that was with Dalvin, but our offensive line is playing better. So I think consistency is a big thing here.”

Jackson said it was “sad” to hear Cook was hurt.

“He’s a rookie too, so we were always cheering for him,” he said.

This and that

How’s this for a rarity: Fox called the Bears “fairly healthy” after having only four players on the injury report. Inside linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski (right pec) didn’t practice, while center Hroniss Grasu (hand), defensive end Akiem Hicks (foot) and outside linebacker Willie Young (triceps) were limited.

† Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo (shoulder/illness), offensive tackle Rashod Hill (knee) and defensive tackle Shamar Stephen (back) did not practice, while linebacker Eric Kendricks (illness) was limited.

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@patrickfinley.

Email: pfinley@suntimes.com

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