Urlacher, Peppers skip practice to rest

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears kicked off preparation Wednesday for the regular-season finale without linebacker Brian Urlacher (knee), running back Marion Barber (calf), tight end Kellen Davis (illness), defensive end Julius Peppers (not injury related).

The team held out the foursome, but Bears coach Lovie Smith was optimistic about the group’s chances to play against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.

“Hopefully we can get most of those guys back tomorrow,” Smith said.

Smith said the team decided to rest Peppers and added that Urlacher’s knee “is getting better” after the linebacker injured it in a collision with teammate Lance Briggs in Sunday’s loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Receiver Devin Hester (ankle) practiced in a limited capacity along with linebacker Nick Roach (shin), guard Chris Spencer (back) and defensive end Corey Wootton (concussion).

Vikings guard Anthony Herrera missed practice Wednesday with a back injury. Safety Jamarca Sanford (shoulder) was listed with limited participation in practice.

Cornerbacks Asher Allen (shoulder/concussion) and Benny Sapp (shoulder) participated fully along with quarterback Christian Ponder (concussion).