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Bears safety Major Wright questionable; Craig Steltz might start

Craig Steltz (20) could get start for strong safety Major Wright who suffered slight hamstring pull Friday. | AP

Craig Steltz (20) could get the start for strong safety Major Wright, who suffered a slight hamstring pull Friday. | AP

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Updated: January 1, 2014 6:13AM



The last time safety Craig Steltz’s name was announced in a game, it was for the wrong reason: In the fourth quarter last week in St. Louis, he was flagged for a holding penalty that negated Devin Hester’s 62-yard punt return for a touchdown.

On Sunday in Minneapolis, Steltz might get a chance for redemption.

Major Wright, the Bears’ starting strong safety, suffered a slight hamstring pull in practice Friday at Halas Hall and is questionable.

“I don’t know where he’s at right now,” coach Marc Trestman said. “That’s all I know right now. I talked to him afterward — he said he felt pretty good.

“These things, we’ll have to see where he is [Saturday].”

If Wright can’t go, Steltz — who hasn’t played more than four defensive snaps all year — would start.

“You prepare every week, whether something’s wrong or not,” Steltz said. “If there’s something that’s wrong, you have to be ready.”

The Bears took out insurance Friday by promoting practice-squad safety Sean Cattouse, a Hubbard High School alum, and releasing defensive tackle Tracy Robertson.

Steltz said the Bears have to be very disciplined against the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson, the NFL’s second-leading rusher. Peterson practiced in full Friday for the first time this week and is probable.

“Craig’s been around,” Trestman said. “He knows the position. He knows his assignments. He’s not a guy who’s going to make a lot of mistakes.

“I think we’ll be fine at the position. I have a lot of comfort with him.”

Snap count

The Bears will enter the game with a snap limit on defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff but will see where he is during the course of the game, Trestman said.

“We’re not going to lock ourselves in,” Trestman said. “But I think we’ll have a number going in.”

Ratliff hasn’t played in a game in more than a year but has recovered from December groin surgery and is listed as questionable after practicing in full Friday.

Trestman said he could play nose tackle and the “three technique” defensive-tackle spot.

Defensive tackle Stephen Paea practiced in full Friday, too, but is questionable. He said he plans to play.

This and that

Running back Matt Forte, who slightly hyperextended his right knee against the Rams, is probable against the Vikings. So is wide receiver Brandon Marshall (quadriceps), who, like Forte, practiced in full. Kicker Robbie Gould will play despite missing practice with an illness.

◆ Safety Anthony Walters is out with a groin injury.

◆ Vikings cornerback Josh Robinson (chest) and tight end Kyle Rudolph (foot) will not play.

Email: pfinley@suntimes.com

Twitter: @patrickfinley



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