The Bears are routing the Vikings, they’re looking to rebound from their abysmal last two games, and things are actually looking great now that Jay Cutler is back under center in Chicago. The only downside is that ace return man and occasional wannabe wide receiver Devin Hester has suffered a concussion and has left the game against the Vikings.
Eric Weems will fill in for Hester on both special teams and on offense.
It’s not that the Bears need Hester today, they’ve pretty much closed out the Vikings at halftime. But with the increase in concern about head injuries and the fact the NFL is in no way lenient when it comes to letting players play the week following a concussion means we already need to call into question whether Hester will be available next week for Chicago.
Should the Bears be without Hester for the next week it’s not as though they will crumble. But what Hester does is he adds a variable not a lot of team have — kick returning. When Hester’s not returning the kicks and going yard, he’s setting up decent field position for a Bears offense that usually needs as much help as it can get.
Today isn’t a game you should view as an example of how the Bears will play down the stretch. The Vikings were pretenders from the start, so the need for Hester’s ability isn’t there. But if he’s gone next week, the Bears will lose a dimension and although he’s not as big a dimension as Jay Cutler, it wasn’t good when the Bears lost him.
Hester’s absence won’t be crippling, but it won’t help either.