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With Jay Cutler potentially out for the season with a shoulder injury, the Chicago Bears went looking for quarterback help this week.

And when their search led them to Jake Rudock, the Detroit Lions acted quickly to keep him from leaving town.

The Lions promoted Rudock from their practice squad to their active roster today, and the rookie sixth-round pick from Michigan will serve as the No. 3 quarterback for Thursday's game against the Minnesota Vikings (12:30 p.m., CBS).

The Lions had elected to keep just two quarterbacks on their initial 53-man roster: starter Matthew Stafford and backup Dan Orlovsky. Rudock spent the past 11 weeks on the practice squad, where he earned glowing praise for his work. Teams can sign players from other teams' practice squads to their active roster.

Rudock completed 30 of 51 passes for 333 yards in the preseason and threw a team-leading four touchdowns.

"I’ve seen tremendous growth in Jake since the start," Lions quarterbacks coach Brian Callahan told the Free Press last month. "He’s kind of getting used to the NFL game, which is different. He kind of came in with some familiarity (with) a little bit of the pro style, drops and under center and concepts. All those things probably helped him some, but until you get up here and start playing, you just see so much more."

A starter at Iowa and Michigan in college, Rudock isn't likely to take any snaps for the Lions this fall. But with Orlovsky's contract up after the season, he could serve as Stafford's backup in 2017.

Stafford has taken every offensive snap for the Lions (6-4) and has completed a career-best 67.8% of his passes with 18 touchdowns and just five interceptions.

The Bears, after missing out on Rudock, signed David Fales to back up Matt Barkley, their expected starter this week.

Contact Dave Birkett: dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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