The week of practice is over and the Vikings are nearly set for their contest against the Chicago Bears on Sunday. Here's what we learned this week about the Vikings-Bears matchup in Week 8.
Adrian is nicked up, but will play Sunday
* *Adrian Peterson was on this week's injury report with three ailments listed – hip, finger and ankle. That's the life of a bellcow NFL RB. But it sounds like Peterson will be good to go Sunday in Chicago, with head coach Mike Zimmer expressing no doubt that No. 28 will be able to go.
Sunday will be Peterson's seventh career game at Soldier Field. He averages 105.3 rushing yards per game and 5.3 yards per rush at Soldier Field, with 8 TDs, a long run of 73 yards and a 224-yard game (in 2007).
Zimmer thinks Bridgewater's field vision is expanding
There were a lot of highlight-caliber plays made by the Vikings offense last Sunday in Detroit. Adrian Peterson had a 75-yard run, Stefon Diggs had a 36-yard TD catch, and Kyle Rudolph reached out to snag a scoring grab with one hand. But none of those were head coach Mike Zimmer's favorite.
Zimmer's favorite play was a simple dump down from Teddy Bridgewater to Zach Line. The play morphed from simple to sensational when Line turned upfield and saw nothing but open space as he rumbled down the sideline for a 49-yard gain. But it wasn't even the big gain that Zimmer liked most about his favorite play of the day.
"The one (play) I might have liked the best was the one where he threw to Zach Line because he was working the other side of the field at the time," Zimmer said. "They dropped and for him to see it – his vision is starting to expand I feel like. That helps to open a lot of other things up for other of people."
The numbers support Zimmer's theory. Bridgewater hit 11 different receivers on Sunday in Detroit, demonstrating poise and a comprehensive understanding of the offensive and defensive schemes.
Eric Kendricks was named NFC Defensive Player of the Month
* *It's Stefon Diggs who has been talked about most among Vikings rookies lately. But it's Eric Kendricks who has received the latest and greatest accolade. Kendricks named October's NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month.
In three games during the month of October, Kendricks posted 20 total tackles, 4.0 sacks, 5 TFLs and 5 QB hits. His 4.0 sacks during the month was tied for fifth in the League and first among all rookies. With all 4.0 of his sacks coming in October, the former Bruin is also currently tied for the league lead in sacks among all rookies.
As happy as his coaches are with his production and work so far, they also realize football is a team game and Kendricks is benefiting from solid around him, as well.
Said Zimmer: "He's picked stuff up, and he's done a good job. I think the other guys that are out there playing have helped him to understand things. He's made some plays because other guys have allowed him to make plays. It's nice for him. They should probably give it to 10 other guys."
Said defensive coordinator George Edwards: "He learns from his mistakes, he does a good job of studying and transferring from the classroom to the field, so we're glad he is where he is. But, we also realize it's a team sport and I think he'll tell you that he's got a lot of good veterans around him that have helped him and that's a big part of who we are on defense is everybody working together to accomplish the goal that set out for each week."
John Sullivan may not return in 2015
* *Zimmer opened his Monday press conference with some somber news regarding C John Sullivan.
"He had a relapse about ten days ago in the weight room, so he had another procedure done on his back, so we don't know when he'll be back or if he'll be back," Zimmer explained.
The bad news is the Vikings may be without their starting center for the rest of the season. The good news is Joe Berger has stepped in to fill the role admirably. Where this has perhaps a greater impact is on the depth of the offensive line. Right now the five starters are getting the job done and are improving each week, but the next injury will test the depth. With Sullivan in the fold, it would likely be Berger who would step in and keep the train moving. Now, another member of the reserve group will be tested if another injury strikes the Vikings line.
Audie Cole hurt his finger, Brandon Watts was promoted
* *Tuesday was a busy day for the Vikings personnel department. The following roster moves were made:
-- LB Brandon Watts was signed from the Practice Squad to the Active Roster.
-- CB Jabari Price was placed on the Reserve/Injured list.
-- FB Blake Renaud and LB Terrance Plummer were signed to the Practice Squad.
-- WR Donte Foster was released from the Practice Squad.
The one to note is the promotion of Watts from the Practice Squad to the Active Roster. With Audie Cole on the injury report this week (finger), Watts may be in line to be active on Sunday.