Five men with ties to the Vikings and/or the University of Minnesota are among the 25 semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2016, the Hall announced Tuesday.
Quarterback Brett Favre, whose illustrious career ended with a two-year stint with the Vikings (2009-10), is one of three first-year eligible candidates. The others are guard Alan Faneca and receiver Terrell Owens.
Joining those three are kicker Morton Andersen, the NFL career scoring leader who played with the Vikings in 2004; longtime 49ers running back Roger Craig, who played for the Vikings in 1992-93; Colts Super Bowl-winning head coach Tony Dungy, who also played quarterback for the Gophers and was a Vikings defensive coordinator; and Broncos linebacker Karl Mecklenburg, a former Gopher.
Other semifinalists, all of them previously eligible, include Kurt Warner, Isaac Bruce, Tony Boselli, Kevin Mawae, Marvin Harrison, Orlando Pace and John Lynch. Already nominated by the seniors committee are Ken Stabler and Dick Stanfel. The 2016 contributor candidate is former 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo, Jr.
Fifteen finalists will be announced in January. Voting will culminate Feb. 6, the night before the Super Bowl. Inductions will be in August.
Forte back for Bears
Star running back Matt Forte all but confirmed he will suit up this week at Green Bay.
Forte said he is able to cut and run at full speed and seemed just about ready to go after missing the past three games because of a knee injury.
The Bears also opened a three-week practice window for rookie receiver Kevin White to determine if they will activate him this season.
White, the No. 7 pick in this year's draft, has spent the season on the physically unable to perform list because of a stress fracture in his left shin. The Bears have until the end of this 21-day period to place White on the active roster or season-ending injured reserve.
•Peyton Manning will miss at least the next two weeks after consulting with foot specialist Dr. Robert Anderson, who put him in a walking boot. Manning has a torn plantar fascia in his left foot.
•Rams quarterback Case Keenum did not practice while going through the NFL's concussion protocol, and coach Jeff Fisher is hopeful he'll be cleared Wednesday. The NFL is investigating whether correct concussion protocol was followed when Keenum was injured. Fisher said team doctors and trainers were involved in a conference call Tuesday night to discuss possible tweaks to the system.
•Coach Rex Ryan expects quarterback Tyrod Taylor (right shoulder) will be healthy enough to start in the Bills' game at Kansas City on Sunday. Ryan said it was too early to tell if defensive end Mario Williams can play because of a foot injury and ruled out starting right guard John Miller (high left ankle sprain) and backup receiver Marcus Easley (concussion).
•The Broncos announced they are bringing in former Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder for a workout.