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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Quarterback Sam Bradford returned to practice Thursday for the first time since Sept. 21, but was limited and remains day-to-day with the left knee injury that has knocked him out of the last three games.
"If he's ready to play, he'll play," head coach Mike Zimmer said as the Vikings (2-2) returned to the field in preparation for Monday night's game at Chicago.
Even with the uncertainty at quarterback, the Vikings are 2 1/2-point favorites over the Bears. That, of course, has a lot to do with Chicago deciding to give rookie No. 2 overall pick Mitchell Trubisky his first NFL start rather than let veteran quarterback Mike Glennon add to his eight turnovers in the last three games.
"He's a little more inexperienced," Zimmer said of Trubisky, who started only 13 games at North Carolina. "But we try to fool even the experienced quarterbacks, too."
Being favored at Soldier Field is nothing new for the Vikings. Neither is losing at Soldier Field. Since 2008, they're 1-8 in Chicago, including last year's 20-10 loss as 5 1/2-point favorites.
"Just not playing well there, that's the most common theme we've had in the six games I've played there," tight end Kyle Rudolph said. "Even the game we won (23-20 in 2015), you go back and look and essentially until the last drive of the game, we didn't play that well."
To beat the Bears, the Vikings will have to eliminate turnovers and stop a Chicago running game that tore through the Steelers for 222 yards two weeks ago. The Bears are last in the league in turnover ratio (minus-7) and have only three takeaways, so turnovers are less likely to be an issue than stopping the likes of Jordan Howard, rookie Tarik Cohen and an offense that, according to Zimmer, gets away with holding.
"The receivers do a good job on the perimeter blocking, holding, grabbing," said Zimmer, whose run defense was shredded by Howard's 153-yard effort in last year's game at Chicago. "The offensive line does the same thing. So we can't allow them to hold us and grab us the way they've been doing. Tackling us."
The Vikings are 2-2 and playing the second of three straight NFC North games. They trail the Packers and Lions by a game and are coming off a 14-7 loss to Detroit that also saw dynamic rookie running back Dalvin Cook go down for the season with a torn left ACL.
Veteran Latavius Murray will start at running back, but the Vikings also signed former Patriots running back Stevan Ridley on Thursday. Ridley's six-year career includes a 1,263-yard season in 2012.
Defensively, the Vikings are healthy. Only one starter missed practice when strong safety Andrew Sendejo sat because of a shoulder injury and illness.
But that's an injury to keep an eye on. Sendejo missed last year's game at Soldier Field. Rookie Jayron Kearse started in his place and took a terrible angle and missed a tackle on a long run by Howard that set the tone early on. Things never really got better as the Vikings dropped yet another game in Chicago.