Sunday Night Football Preview: Minnesota Vikings @ Chicago Bears

Sunday nights’ opening clash sees a divisional battle between the Minnesota Vikings and the Chicago Bears from Soldier Field in Chicago. The Bears, with the Green Bay Packers on a bye week, have a chance to join the Packers at the top of the NFC North with a win, where as the Vikings will try to move back into contention for the divisional title after a shaky start to the season, marred by controversy, that has left coach Brad Childress feeling the heat in Minneapolis.

Childress’ Vikings career was saved by 41-year-old quarterback Brett Favre last week, mucking in with with a career high 446 yards and a massive 36 completed passes to help the Vikings to a 27-24 win in overtime. Prior to that, the Vikings were 2-5, with Favre hobbling, leading wide receiver Percy Harvin upset with comments made by Childress over a supposed knee injury, and NFL-legend Randy Moss mysteriously waivered after only four weeks with the team. Favre’s overturning of a 14 point deficit in the fourth quarter has extended Childress’ stay with the team, and a win against the Bears on Sunday night will leave them within touching distance of a 0.500 record and two wins from the top of the division.

Whilst only beating a suffering Buffalo Bills in Toronto last weekend, the Bears are seemingly turning a corner after quarterback Jay Cutler’s early season exploits turned in a festival of interceptions and mistakes. However, Cutler is not entirely to blame, as his offensive line have let both him and star running back Matt Forte down enormously in the past nine weeks, with Cutler being sacked twenty-seven times since the beginning of the season. Despite Vikings’ sack-machine Jared Allen having a poor season so far, he must surely be licking his lips at the chance to take on the Bears O-Line on Sunday afternoon. However, for the Bears, to top an average division after an average start will be an achievement, especially considering the high hopes directed towards their divisional rivals at the beginning of the season.

Ones To Watch

For the Vikings, the key man will be running back Adrian Peterson. With Favre’s favourite target man, Percy Harvin, not practicing throughout the week due to migraines, the Vikings will have to focus far more on their running game than usual, and Peterson is the ideal anecdote to such an issue. Young, fast and powerful, Peterson’s consistency has already made him a hero in Minneapolis, and he will be looking to rack up more yards come Sunday.

As far as the Bears are concerned, I believe the rushing game will also be important. Matt Forte currently stands 5th in rushing yards for the season throughout the league (Peterson is 2nd), and if his offensive line can provide him with any sort of blocking, he could be the man to make the Vikings pay.


This game will be tight. Very tight. The Vikings haven’t won away in eight straight games on the road, and have only won once in their last nine visits to Chicago. However, if Brett Favre can put up the kind of yards he did last week against Arizona, and Peterson can perform to the same level he has all season, I think the Vikings will just nick it by seven points or less.

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