Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph "practiced a little bit" on Monday as the team returned from its bye week, coach Mike Zimmer said, and the team remains hopeful Rudolph will be able to return from a six-game absence on Sunday in Chicago.
Rudolph hasn't played since sustaining a sports hernia on Sept. 21 in New Orleans, and was originally projected to be out for six weeks, meaning a return against the Bears, after the Vikings' bye week, always seemed like a plausible option. Rudolph said last week a return for the Bears game "has been my goal the whole time," though he added he wouldn't run the risk of a setback by trying to return too quickly.
Still, it seems the Vikings could be on track to get one of their key receiving options back this weekend.
"He ran routes, and did a little bit, more than individual stuff," Zimmer said. "We'll see as the week goes on."
One has to figure Rudolph is eased back into it at least this week. The story went on to say that TE Chase Ford developed into a solid receiving option in Rudolph's absence, and the team has effectively used two-tight end sets as their base offense. The return of Rudolph -- who was slated to play a key role in both the Vikings' passing offense and their run-blocking scheme -- could be a significant addition to their offense and QB Teddy Bridgewater.