For the first time since Week 5 in Philadelphia, the Vikings offensive line could play all five starters on Sunday night in Chicago — if the two players listed as questionable are active.
Left guard Tom Compton returned to practice this week after spending three weeks healing a sprained knee suffered Oct. 21 in New York. Compton said Friday he’s hopeful to play against the Bears, his former team. He was a full participant in Friday’s practice, but is listed questionable.
“It was solid,” Compton said. “We did what we could out there Wednesday, Thursday and got some more reps [Friday]. We’ll see what happens.”
Guard Mike Remmers is also questionable to play because of a low back injury that occurred at the end of the Lions game. He was limited in practices throughout the week.
If all five starters can play, it would be the Vikings’ sixth different O-line combo of the season. Compton has yet to play with both tackles Riley Reiff and Brian O’Neill, who earned the right tackle job over Rashod Hill in October.
Diggs, Rhodes to play
The Vikings regained health over the bye, as just two players — safety Andrew Sendejo (groin) and tight end David Morgan (knee) — have been ruled out against the Bears. Sendejo will miss his fifth straight game (groin injury).
But wide receiver Stefon Diggs is good to go after a rib injury kept him from playing against the Lions. Diggs practiced in full this week and will return to play. Cornerback Xavier Rhodes is also set to play despite a foot injury that has limited him for a few weeks.
Linebacker Anthony Barr (hamstring) “looked good” in his return to practices this week, according to coach Mike Zimmer, but he’s still listed as questionable.
Richardson becoming priority for a return
If there were a midseason award for best addition on the Vikings defense, it’d go to defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson. He’s won over his teammates and coaches with consistent play against the run and pass.
Richardson, who will become a free agent in March, has likely played his way into becoming a priority to re-sign for the Vikings.
“I know his sack numbers [1.5] aren’t as high as he’d like them to be right now,” coordinator George Edwards said. “But I can tell you that he’s right there and the quarterback feels his push inside, which will be big for us this week with this guy [Mitchell Trubisky] and the way he tries to escape out of the pocket.”
Worthy foe for Thielen
Bears cornerback Bryce Callahan might not be a name you know, but you should. He’s one of the NFL’s best slot corners this season, and he’ll be receiver Adam Thielen’s primary opponent on Sunday night.
Only three other slot corners have forced a worse passer rating than Callahan (73), according to Pro Football Focus.
“I’ve had a lot of respect for him the past couple of years,” Thielen said. “He’s a quick guy. He’s going to be all over you pretty much every time. He’s a smart football player. You can tell he understands route concepts and what teams are trying to do against him.”
Thielen is dealing with back and calf injuries but is expected to play Sunday night in Chicago.
The Vikings coaching staff has an ample amount of firsthand knowledge of Bears’ star edge rusher Khalil Mack, who leads the NFL with four forced fumbles.
Both offensive coordinator John DeFilippo and tight ends coach Todd Downing worked for the Raiders while Mack was in Oakland.
Without Morgan, tight ends Kyle Rudolph and Tyler Conklin will be asked to help the offensive line stall Mack. So, has Downing bestowed any secret plan to the tight ends for Sunday night?
“No,” Rudolph said. “He just wished us luck.”