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Major Wright, Chris Conte likely to start vs. Vikings

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Updated: November 16, 2011 3:48PM



The Bears’ revolving door at safety looks like it’s spinning faster than ever.

Major Wright and rookie Chris Conte are in line to start against the Vikings on Sunday night after both players took first-team reps in practice in place of Chris Harris and Brandon Meriweather.

The potential shakeup is not surprising after coach Lovie Smith expressed disappointment in his starting safeties after the Bears’ 24-13 loss to the Lions on Monday night. Meriweather was burned for a 73-yard touchdown pass to Calvin Johnson. Harris was caught out of position on Jahvid Best’s 88-yard touchdown run.

‘‘Somebody’s got to take the brunt of [the blame],’’ Harris said after practice Thursday. ‘‘I’m a professional. This is my seventh year. This is the third time this has happened to me since I’ve been here. I’m not really shocked by anything.’’

Asked if he was dissatisfied with Harris, Smith said, ‘‘I’m not satisfied — we’re not satisfied. We haven’t done as good a job as we needed, and Chris is a part of that.’’

If Wright and Conte start, it would be the Bears’ fifth different pairing at safety in six games.

Smith, as is his custom, would not confirm the lineup changes.

‘‘We’re looking at a lot of different options,’’ he said.

Louis in, Omiyale out

It appears that Lance Louis will replace struggling veteran Frank Omiyale at right tackle, and Chris Spencer will replace Louis at right guard.

If Spencer, who’s still recovering from a broken hand, can’t play, Edwin Williams likely would start at guard.

No practice for Julius

Defensive end Julius Peppers (sprained knee) did not practice but is still expected to play.

‘‘Julius will play,’’ teammate Israel Idonije said. ‘‘And when he’s on the field, he’ll give 100 percent and contribute. He’s a tremendous competitor.’’

Cornerback Charles Tillman (hip), defensive tackle Matt Toeaina (sprained knee) and right tackle Gabe Carimi (dislocated kneecap) also did not practice. Tillman is expected to start, but Toeaina and Carimi are likely out.

Wide receiver Earl Bennett, who has missed three games since suffering a chest bruise against the Saints in Week 2, returned to practice on a limited basis.

For the Vikings, wide receiver Percy Harvin (ribs) and cornerback Antoine Winfield (neck) did not practice. Linebackers E.J. Henderson (knee) and Kenny Onatolu (hamstring) had limited practice.



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