The Chicago Bears announced more bad news about their COVID-19 outbreak on Sunday, when they introduced cornerback Jaylon Johnson and safety Tashaun Gipson to the reserve/COVID-19 list.
This gave him 14 players on the list going into tonight’s game against the Minnesota Vikings at Soldier Field. They can make roster moves, including players returning from the list this afternoon.
Johnson and Gipson were two of several big names in an outbreak that has particularly affected an already-depleted bear secondary. Starting safety Eddie Jackson and cornerback Artie Burns, who started the last three games in place of Kindle Wildor, are also on the list, as are Nickel Duke Shelley. Meanwhile, cornerback Xavier Crawford is out due to a concussion and safety DeAndre Houston-Carson is out with a broken forearm.
So the Bears could be in for a big test against a Vikings offense that averages 390.5 yards per game, the fourth-best in the NFL.
“There’s always something new, and it’s a part of life as a leader in the NFL,” Bears coach Matt Nagy said Saturday about tackling this week’s challenges. “It may try to break you, but you have to stay positive and you expect the unexpected and you let it all go off steam and you stay positive and you roll.”
Also on the COVID-19 list are Larry Borom, wide receiver Alan Robinson, quarterback Andy Dalton, tight end Jesse James, defensive lineman Mario Edwards Jr., linebackers Joel Iigbuniwe and Sam Kamara, running back Ryan Null and wide receiver Isaiah Coulter. Huh. ,
The Bears will at least have defensive coordinator Sean Desai after being in COVID-19 protocol last week. Offensive coordinator Bill Ledger and special teams coordinator Chris Tabor are still out.
As with Crawford and Houston-Carson, left tackle Jason Peters will not play due to a right ankle sprain.
Wide receiver Marquis Goodwin (legs) and defensive lineman Khairis Tonga (shoulders) are doubtful in play.
Inside linebacker Rokwan Smith and defensive lineman Akim Hicks would be worth watching as both were listed as suspects. Smith is battling a hamstring injury, and Hicks has missed four games with an ankle injury. The Bears thought Hicks might be ready to play last week, but he was dropped the day before.
The Vikings listed wide receiver Adam Thielen (ankle) as a suspect.