Originally written on This Given Sunday  |  Last updated 11/16/14

Throughout the 2012 season, This Given Sunday will examine the biggest injury questions before each week of the NFL season. With the preseason thankfully behind us, it's time to examine the most important injury concerns heading into Week 1. These are superstar players who have battled preseason knocks, faced a history of sitting on the sidelines, and attempting comebacks from serious injuries. Here are the Top 5 injury questions for 2012.

1) Brian Urlacher

The Bears would have been a playoff team last year were it not for the late season injury to Jay Cutler. This year, with the addition of Brandon Marshall and re-signing Matt Forte, Chicago has been touted as a playoff and possible dark horse Super Bowl contender. Those hopes ride not just on the health of Cutler (and his offensive line keeping him out of the ICU), but also defensive quarterback Brian Urlacher. The 8 time Pro Bowler hasn't practiced since July 31st and had arthroscopic knee surgery in mid August, missing the entire preseason. Urlacher's left knee problems date back to last year's season finale where he sprained his MCL.

Bears coach Lovie Smith has remained persistently positive, insisting Urlacher will be ready for the 2012 season opener against the Colts. (Would you expect anything different from the man that walked to a microphone week after week professing faith in Rex Grossman?) The reality of the situation leaves Bears fans a bit more worried. Urlacher is 34 and "nagging knee problems" are never words you want to see next to your speedy All-Pro MLB. Even at this stage of his career, Brian Urlacher is one of the most important defensive players in the NFL. If his left knee is a problem throughout the 2012 season, it will greatly hamper Chicago's efforts to get to the postseason.

2) Andre Johnson

Seeing Andre Johnson's name on this list may be a surprise, but the Texans star receiver has seen two dreaded words begin to be attached to his name - injury prone. Heading into the 2012 season, Johnson's health is a question mark because of the variety of injuries in the last two years. Johnson missed 9 games in 2011 as he was plagued with a hamstring injury.

This summer, injuries continued to cause Johnson to miss time. First, there was a groin strain during the second practice of camp. Then, in the team's third preseason game against New Orleans, Johnson had to leave the game after having the wind knocked out of him. While neither injury should cause the former Hurricane to miss any regular season time, the sight of #80 constantly walking to the sideline and the locker room is like a bad horror franchise that keeps coming back with sequels nobody wants to see. Andre Johnson hasn't played a full season since 2009 and at 31 years old, it's fair to say the "fine china treatment" may not be a bad idea at this stage of his career. Is the window closing on Johnson's prime? Can Houston contend if he spends another year in the training room instead of the endzone?

3) Michael Vick

The Philadelphia Eagles are under enormous pressure to succeed. With the New York Jets being the obsessive compulsive choice of the national media this year, last year's team du jour has flown under the radar. It was a year ago the Eagles were dubbed the Dream Team and Michael Vick was signed to a 6 year, $100 million dollar contract. An 8-8 season later, the Eagles and Vick need to deliver.

While Vick has suffered a variety of injuries throughout his career (even this preseason), it's been his ribs that have caused the most trouble in Philly, causing Vick to miss games in each of the last two seasons. Vick left a game against the Patriots August 20th after just six plays thanks to a hit from Jermaine Cunningham. The CEO of Unequal Technologies can guarantee Vick's health and his ability to survive artillery fire all he wants with his new kevlar vest - history says Michael Vick won't play a full season this year. He's played 16 games just once in his NFL career and missed 3 games last year. It's ok though, because Philly fans have already talked themselves into Nick Foles being the next Tom Brady... no, better than Brady.

4) Adrian Peterson

Let's be real, this isn't about the Super Bowl or the Vikings' hopes in 2012. This is about your fantasy team and the man who has been the best and most productive running back in the NFL. Of the players on this list, he's the biggest doubt for Week 1 after his devastating knee injury on Christmas Eve 2011. Peterson tore the ACL and MCL in his left knee that day and hasn't been tackled since. The Vikings have been as delicate as possible with AP, only allowing him to be hit above the waist just recently.

Peterson has always been my favorite running back to watch ever since his freshman year at Oklahoma because of his violent and punishing running style. The questions of Vikings execs, coaches, teammates, fans, and fantasy owners regarding Peterson's knee are one thing, but will Peterson himself ask those questions the first time he takes a live tackle this season? What about when his knee takes a hit or gets twisted under a pile? Will Peterson alter his aggressive running style in any way? Will Peterson be the same? Heading into the 2012 season, nobody knows for certain.

5) Peyton Manning

This list has to end with one of the greatest quarterbacks who has ever lived. Peyton Manning hasn't taken a regular season snap since 2010 after neck surgery caused him to miss the entire 2011 season and change the course of the entire NFL. Manning is now in Denver, the Andrew Luck era begins in Indianapolis, and Tim Tebow gets to run shirtless in the rain and bring ESPN to their knees. Manning looked at home in Denver in the all important third preseason game against San Francisco after two less-than-vintage performances. Manning's arm strength, durability, and ability to take a hit will be in the minds of everyone associated with the Denver Broncos organization each and every time he drops back in the pocket.

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Mets star David Wright reaches out to sons of slain NYPD officer

Panthers coach replaces break-in victims’ Christmas presents

Bruce Arians benches Logan Thomas on Christmas Day

Richard Sherman: Marshawn Lynch having MVP season

Curt Schilling tweeted advice to Johnny Manziel

Aaron Rodgers buys TVs for Packers teammates

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Harbaugh smiled when asked about Michigan's bday tweet

Jackie Robinson West Little League accused of cheating

Police: Fire that burned down McClain's home 'suspicious'

Furniture store will refund purchases if OSU wins title

What each NFC team in the hunt should ask for from Santa

Is SI ashamed to mention Jameis Winston on its cover?

Should the NFL's playoff seeding system change?

WATCH: Kenny Smith pushes Shaq into a Christmas tree

Q&A with Rich Eisen; TNF, DirecTV and living in LA

Is the NFL playoff system heading south?

WATCH: Quincy Acy ejected for throwing punch at John Wall

Billy Beane did not want to trade Josh Donaldson

Peyton Manning plans to be back with Broncos next year

WATCH: Blazers announcer botches Damian Lillard call

WATCH: P.K. Subban disguises himself, surprises kids for Xmas

Baseball cards: a fan's love for the ultimate stocking stuffer

Packers game is a career defining moment for Stafford

A look inside Jason Grilli's contract with the Braves

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Wright reaches out to slain officer's sons

Q&A with Rich Eisen; TNF, DirecTV and living in LA

Dan Le Batard sums up Miami's relationship with LeBron

Is the NFL playoff system heading south?

WATCH: Announcer botches call

Police: McClain fire 'suspicious'

10 Week 17 NFL matchups that will impact the playoffs

Bahamas Bowl ends on crazy Hail Mary

49ers OT Davis takes shot at coordinator

Will FIFA ever care to change?

Top storyline for each Week 17 game

40 great Christmas-related sports names

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.