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.

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Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
Toronto 110 FINAL
LA Clippers 98
Boston 88 FINAL
Washington 101
Orlando 102 FINAL
Charlotte 94
Memphis 84 4th Qtr 6:37
Miami 80
Indiana 62 3rd Qtr 5:29
Brooklyn 57
New Orleans 64 3rd Qtr 4:02
Chicago 68
Atlanta 39 3rd Qtr
Milwaukee 37
Philadelphia 12 2nd Qtr
Utah 25
New York 9:00 PM
Sacramento
Minnesota 9:30 PM
Golden State
NY Islanders 3 1st OT 1:39
Buffalo 3
Detroit 2 1st OT 5:00
Ottawa 2
Carolina 1 3rd Prd
Tampa Bay 2
New Jersey 1 FINAL
NY Rangers 3
Boston 2 3rd Prd :02
Columbus 6
Winnipeg 3 3rd Prd 6:09
Minnesota 3
Washington 2 3rd Prd 13:20
Pittsburgh 0
Dallas 3 2nd Prd 3:22
St. Louis 2
Philadelphia 1 2nd Prd 1:21
Nashville 3
Anaheim 1 3rd Prd
Arizona 1
Chicago 2 1st Prd 3:03
Colorado 2
Edmonton 9:00 PM
Calgary
San Jose 9:00 PM
Los Angeles
Indiana 87 FINAL
Georgetown 91
Maine 43 FINAL
Seton Hall 72
UNC-Wilmington 82 FINAL
Minnesota 108
Georgia State 61 FINAL
Green Bay 78
Jacksonville St 61 FINAL
Jacksonville 75
Kentucky 58 FINAL
Louisville 50
Northern Ky 55 FINAL
Northwestern 76
UAB 58 FINAL
North Carolina 89
IUPUI 55 FINAL
Pepperdine 53
Santa Clara 60 FINAL
St Marys-CA 73
Oakland 56 FINAL
Maryland 72
Gonzaga 87 FINAL
BYU 80
Mercer 77 FINAL
Georgia 86
San Francisco 77 FINAL
Pacific 71
Wright State 55 FINAL
Ohio State 100
Presbyterian 65 FINAL
Virginia Tech 87
Brescia 42 2nd Half 2:25
Western Ky 81
Tennessee St 32 2nd Half 16:53
Tennessee 34
Kennesaw St 15 1st Half 6:19
Illinois 36
Colorado State 14 1st Half 5:34
New Mexico St 17
Portland 22 1st Half 2:39
San Diego 25
Wayland Baptist 20 1st Half 3:07
Utah State 31
Bristol University 31 1st Half 3:55
Weber State 40
Sacramento St 29 1st Half 3:30
Utah Valley U 30
Southern Utah 9:00 PM
UNLV
SD Christian 9:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 18 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 35
Rutgers 40 FINAL
North Carolina 21
NC State 34 FINAL
UCF 27
Cincinnati 17 FINAL
Virginia Tech 33
(15) Arizona State 36 FINAL
Duke 31
Miami-Florida 21 FINAL
So Carolina 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Penn State 31
(25) Nebraska 17 2nd Qtr 5:39
(24) USC 24
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
Tennessee
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
East Carolina 1/3/15 11:00 AM
Florida
SMU 45 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 96
UCF 64 FINAL
Houston 50
BYU 62 FINAL
Gonzaga 78
Pacific 92 FINAL
San Francisco 54
St Marys-CA 62 FINAL
Santa Clara 61
San Diego 73 2nd Half 7:21
Portland 50
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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 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

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