Rookie cornerback Holton Hill will be put in another big spot Sunday against the Bears, since the Vikings’ top corner is inactive.
Xavier Rhodes will not play due to a groin injury that held him to one limited practice this week. Hill will make his third career NFL start. The previous two came against Saints quarterback Drew Brees and Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.
Rhodes is the fifth Vikings player ruled out due to injury. Linebacker Eric Kendricks, receiver Chad Beebe, punt returner Marcus Sherels and fullback C.J. Ham were ruled out on Friday.
Second-year linebacker Eric Wilson is expected to see the bulk of Kendricks’ work on defense. Receiver Brandon Zylstra will return punts for Sherels.
Sheldon Richardson and Danielle Hunter have big incentives on the line if they can get a sack or more against the Bears. Hunter will earn an additional $500,000 with a 0.5 sack today to reach 15 on the season. Richardson can pocket $666,667 if he gets 1.5 sacks against the Bears, moving his season total to six.
Vikings’ inactives: Rhodes (groin), Kendricks (hamstring), Beebe (hamstring), Sherels (foot), Ham (elbow), QB Kyle Sloter and DE Tashawn Bower.
Bears’ inactives: WR Allen Robinson, S Eddie Jackson, LB Aaron Lynch, DT Nick Williams, FB Michael Burton, TE Daniel Brown and OL Rashaad Coward.
Chicago will be without two starters in leading receiver Allen Robinson and Pro Bowl safety Eddie Jackson.
Guard Kyle Long was activated off injured reserve this weekend and has returned to the Bears’ lineup. Long hasn’t played since Oct. 28 when he suffered foot and ankle injuries.
Bears head coach Matt Nagy said this week he’ll check the score of Rams-49ers at halftime to determine whether to play all of his starters in the second half against the Vikings. Chicago can earn the NFC’s No. 2 seed and a first-round bye with a win and a Rams loss to the 49ers this afternoon.
If the Rams jump out to a big lead by halftime, the Bears could bench stars like Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks in the second half. The Vikings prepared for Bears backup quarterback Chase Daniel by watching his two starts in addition to the defense’s preparation for starter Mitchell Trubisky.