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Bears WR Earl Bennett practices Thursday; targeting return next week

Bears wide receiver Earl Bennett (chest) likely is still at least a week away from playing, however, Cutler’s teammate at Vanderbilt returned to practice at Halas Hall on Thursday.

‘‘I don’t know that he’s close, probably a few more weeks,’’ Bears general manager Jerry Angelo said. ‘‘He didn’t break anything; that’s the good news. It’s an injury that every player’s body handles differently, so we’re just going to have to be patient and wait and see.’’

Bennett, since being injured during Week two’s loss in New Orleans, had not played or practiced until Thursday.

Peppers and Tillman: Defensive end Julius Peppers missed practice Thursday with a sprained MCL in his left knee, and coach Lovie Smith said there’s a chance the All-Pro pass rusher will return to the field on Friday.

Although Charles Tillman (hip) sat out practice Thursday, he is still expected to play Sunday night against the Vikings.

Offensive line shuffle: Lance Louis will get the starting nod against Minnesota at right tackle, his first career start at the position.  Chris Spencer (broken right hand) will receive the start at right guard.

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