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Jon Krawczynski / Associated Press, Published November 28 2012

Vikings' Smith, Rudolph cleared to play

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. – Pride wasn’t the only thing smarting in Minnesota after the Vikings were beat down by the Chicago Bears last weekend.

Tight end Kyle Rudolph and safety Harrison Smith were knocked out of the game with concussions, and star receiver Percy Harvin missed his second straight game with a sprained left ankle that still made it difficult for him to walk. The injuries to key players cast a pall over a team that is facing a brutal stretch of games as it tries to chase down a playoff berth.

Just a few days later, things are starting to look a little better. Rudolph and Smith have passed concussion tests, clearing the way for them to be available for a pivotal game at Green Bay (7-4) on Sunday, and Harvin has returned to the practice field.

Harvin was still limping noticeably while running routes during the portion of practice that was open to the media on Wednesday, leaving his availability for the game in question. Rudolph watched practice nursing a shoulder injury, but it appears that he and Smith will be ready for the Packers.

“To know that Kyle and Harrison have been cleared, that’s a big deal,” coach Leslie Frazier said. “They are two keys to our football team. The fact that Percy’s going to attempt to do something today, that’s encouraging. It’s just a matter of how far he can go. That’s a big deal to have those guys out there practicing.”

The Vikings (6-5) sure needed some good news after getting thumped by the Bears. They play at Green Bay this weekend, then host the Bears and finish the season at St. Louis, at Houston and home against Green Bay. So if they’re going to make the postseason in what most expected to be a rebuilding year, they’re going to need all hands on deck to do it.

Rudolph said his shoulder shouldn’t keep him from playing this weekend, meaning up-and-down quarterback Christian Ponder should have one of his favorite targets on the field. It’s the second concussion of the year for Rudolph, who also suffered one in the preseason. He said the latest concussion wasn’t nearly as difficult to overcome.

“The other one was more of an equilibrium, balance type thing,” he said. “I didn’t have any of that during this one. Two completely different circumstances.”