Three midweek topics: Vikings at Bears

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 21, 2012 - 7:06 PM
Admit it. At some point today, you'll sit with relatives and discuss the possibility of the Vikings in the playoffs. And admit it, back in June, the thought of a 2012 Vikings-in-the-playoffs discussion over Thanksgiving dinner seemed as likely as Herman Cain winning the presidency. But here we are in Week 12 and the Vikings are one of eight teams in the NFC with a winning record, preparing for a high-stakes division game Sunday in Chicago. But wait, there's more. Here's a trio of other things you should know.

 

1. Chicago cornerback Tim Jennings received quality tutelage early in his career from a young coach named Alan Williams.

Bears coach Lovie Smith said as much Wednesday, crediting Williams for polishing Jennings' skills when the duo worked together in Indianapolis from 2006-09.

Now Jennings is in the middle of a breakout year, leading the league with eight interceptions.

The Colts drafted him in the second round in 2006 and Williams, then the defensive backs coach in Indy, was immediately excited to begin the development.

Yes, Jennings was on the small side (5-foot-7 1/2, 183 pounds) coming out of Georgia. But ...

"He was fast, he had great hands, he had the ability to create turnovers," Williams said. "Also, for a guy of his stature, he was a physical player."

Jennings is fearless and displays a good combination of quickness and awareness in coverage. Williams, now the Vikings defensive coordinator, said patience was key as Jennings grew as an NFL corner.

"What you see now is not what we saw when he stepped in the door," Williams said. "You knew he had talent and he showed that in flashes. ... He had all the traits. Now he's producing on a high, consistent level."

Even a year ago, Jennings was benched late in the season, in part, because he wasn't maximizing opportunities to make big plays. Now he's snatching everything in sight.

Said Smith: "He's worked extremely hard on the simple fundamental of catching the ball."

 

2. Adrian Peterson will be making his sixth visit to Soldier Field, where he's had mixed results.

In five games in Chicago, Peterson has averaged 19 carries and 106 yards with eight total touchdowns. His first outing at Soldier Field as a rookie in 2007 produced a 224-yard, three-touchdown explosion in a 34-31 win.

Last year? The Vikings were buried 5 minutes into the second half when Devin Hester returned a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown. Peterson touched the ball only once more during a 12-carry, 39-yard night.

But Peterson might just be better now than ever before. Coach Leslie Frazier admits he's increasingly impressed with Peterson's burst, cutting ability and improving hands.

There's also his patience.

"[In the past] he'd always look to hit the home run," Frazier said. "And sometimes that would create negative plays. Now he's truer to his reads."

The Vikings also realize that seeing a flurry of eight-man fronts designed to contain Peterson isn't necessarily a bad thing. If Peterson can knife through that first level, there's not much help on the back end. Which helps explain why he's had runs of 60 yards or more in each of the past three games.

"It can be feast or famine," Frazier said. "It's good for us when our guys hold a block because we know there's a chance for a home run every single play."

 

3. The last time the Vikings faced a shaken offensive line, their defense flourished.

If you need evidence of Chicago's ineptitude up front, call up any series from Monday's 32-7 drubbing in San Francisco. Jason Campbell was battered all night, absorbing six sacks and 11 hits.

For the season, the Bears have given up 34 sacks. Only Arizona (44) has done worse. And five weeks ago, the Vikings defense tore through the Cardinals' line for seven sacks while also creating two takeaways.

A similar game plan may be in place Sunday. The Vikings will devote significant attention to receiver Brandon Marshall -- as they did with Larry Fitzgerald in Week 7. They'll also ask the defensive line to create pressure without needing blitz help.

Williams is more fearful of Chicago's running game with Matt Forte than he was of Arizona's. So the Vikings won't be able to keep both safeties deep all afternoon. But they still should have a chance to bring plenty of heat.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Mets - LP: B. Colon 2 FINAL
Washington - WP: T. Roark 4
Baltimore 5 Top 9th Inning
NY Yankees 4
Kansas City - WP: Y. Ventura 7 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: D. Salazar 1
Seattle - LP: F. Hernandez 2 FINAL
Toronto - WP: R. Dickey 10
Chicago WSox 3 Bottom 9th Inning
Detroit 3
Philadelphia - LP: C. Hamels 0 FINAL
Miami - WP: H. Alvarez 2
Pittsburgh - WP: G. Cole 3 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: A. Wood 2
Milwaukee - LP: M. Fiers 1 FINAL
Cincinnati - WP: J. Cueto 3
Tampa Bay 6 Bottom 9th Inning
Boston 2
Houston 0 Top 7th Inning
Texas 2
St. Louis 3 Bottom 7th Inning
Chicago Cubs 3
Arizona 1 Top 7th Inning
Minnesota 5
LA Angels 0 Bottom 1st Inning
Oakland 0
San Francisco 0 Bottom 1st Inning
Los Angeles 0
Colorado 0 Bottom 1st Inning
San Diego 0
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Buffalo 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Green Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Tennessee 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Carolina 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Detroit 9/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Tampa Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Miami 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Oakland
Jacksonville 9/28/14 3:05 PM
San Diego
Atlanta 9/28/14 3:25 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 9/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
New Orleans 9/28/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
New England 9/29/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Carolina 0 FINAL
Buffalo 2
Pittsburgh 0 FINAL
Columbus 2
Boston 2 FINAL
Montreal 3
Nashville 2 FINAL
Tampa Bay 4
Philadelphia 0 FINAL
Toronto 4
Detroit 1 3rd Prd
Chicago 1
San Jose 0 2nd Prd 8:03
Vancouver 1
Arizona 1 1st Prd 11:15
Anaheim 0
Vancouver 9:30 PM
San Jose
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Clemson
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which struggling team is in the worst shape?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close