|ESPN.com: NFC North||[Print without images]|
|The Chicago Bears take their turn in the examination room after beating the Minnesota Vikings.|
The feeling throughout last week was that defensive end Julius Peppers would play despite a sprained knee suffered Oct. 10. That theory seemed shot when the Bears listed him as doubtful on the final injury report. But in the end, Peppers played, started and had two sacks. Did the Bears manipulate the injury report to their advantage? "Doubtful" technically means a player has a 25 percent chance to be available. So even though it usually means a player will be out, a team can justify it without explanation if one out of every four doubtful players ends up in uniform. I suppose it's possible the Bears were upset that the Vikings reversed course last season after declaring quarterback Brett Favre out for the teams' December 2010 matchup, but "retaliating" in this instance seems like more trouble than it's worth. The Bears might have preferred to keep the Vikings guessing, but it's hard to imagine them being petty enough to let what happened last season influence their classification of Peppers' injury.