LAKE FOREST- Last week the Bears did not have a single player on the injury report. This week, the results are a little different. The most recent injury report lists two veteran starting defensive players, cornerback Charles Tillman and defensive end Julius Peppers. Tillman has been dealing with soreness in his knee since last week’s opener against Cincinnati. He was also taken into the locker room in last week’s victory. It was later revealed that he was given fluids for dehydration.
On Wednesday, Tillman was limited in practice. Thursday, the 11-year veteran was not on the grounds at Halas Hall. The Bears said he was excused for personal reasons, but some have speculated that his knee is a potential issue. The Bears coaches and medical staff insist that the injury is not serious and that Tillman will be ready for the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.
As for Julius Peppers, he was sent home due to “flu-like symptoms” according to head coach Marc Trestman. There has been plenty of buzz at Halas Hall that Peppers has not been 100-percent over the last few weeks. He missed the majority of the preseason with hamstring issues, and was limited in the reps that he did get during the month of August.
He was also ineffective against the Bengals as he did not record a single statistic on opening day. And now with no. 90 being sent home from practice, many are wondering if Peppers either just isn’t healthy, or if his age (33-years-old) is starting to show at this point in his career. Whatever the case may be, the Bears have repeated that the veteran pass rusher will start against the Vikings this week.
The Bears will need both players to be healthy as they will have the incredible task of trying to stop (or at least slow down) last year’s most valuable player Adrian Peterson. The Vikings did not look to good in the passing game against Detroit last week. So expect the Vikings to lean more on their rushing attack against the Bears.
Peterson did have plenty of success against the Monsters of the Midway in 2012. He played a major role in eliminating the Bears from playoff contention. So if Peppers and Tillman do start on Sunday as planned, they will both need to be on their A-game. Follow me on Twitter @GabeSalgado82