Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Go Figure: Bears shaky o-line presents golden opportunity for Allen, Vikings

Posted by: under Quarterbacks, Vikings, Bears, NFC, Adrian Peterson, Jared Allen, Percy Harvin, Tarvaris Jackson, Vikings quarterbacks Updated: November 20, 2012 - 10:56 AM

As the Vikings prepare for Sunday’s Week 12 game with Chicago at Soldier Field, here’s a look at a handful of eye-opening figures and facts.

7

Sacks by the Vikings in their last meeting with Chicago, a 17-13 loss in the 2011 regular season finale. Defensive end Jared Allen had 3.5 sacks in that contest to set a new Vikings record for sacks in a season.

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6

Sacks allowed by the Bears in Monday night’s lopsided 32-7 loss in San Francisco with 49ers outside linebacker Aldon Smith recording 5.5 on his own. Quarterback Jason Campbell, starting in place of Jay Cutler, was not only sacked six times but hit on 11 occasions. Chicago has allowed 34 sacks in 10 games, second most in the NFL.

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21

NFL teams with fewer rushing yards as a whole than Vikings star Adrian Peterson. Peterson has 1,128 rushing yards to lead the league in that category. The Vikings rank third in rushing yards as a team, averaging 150.5 per game. They trail only San Francisco (165.5) and Washington (165.0) in that category.

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10

NFC teams with records of .500 or above at this point in the season. That should make the playoff chase incredibly interesting over the final six weeks. The current division leaders are Atlanta (9-1), San Francisco (7-2-1), Green Bay (7-3) and New York (6-4). If the season ended today, the NFC wild cards would be Chicago (7-3) and Seattle (6-4), based on tiebreaking procedures. Also in the wild card picture right now are Tampa Bay (6-4), the Vikings (6-4), New Orleans (5-5) and Dallas (5-5).

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2

Vikings quarterbacks to win in Chicago in the 21st century. The list is not long. Daunte Culpepper aided a 28-16 win at Soldier Field in 2000, throwing TD passes to Cris Carter, Randy Moss and Matthew Hatchette. Tarvaris Jackson was under center for a 34-31 victory in 2007 with Adrian Peterson (20 carries, 224 yards, three TDs) doing most of the offensive damage. The Vikings are 2-9 in their last 11 trips to Solider Field and also lost 27-23 at Champaign’s Memorial Stadium in 2002. The Bears quarterbacks who presided over those 10 wins: Jim Miller, Rex Grossman, Chad Hutchinson, Kyle Orton and Jay Cutler.

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30

Takeaways by the Chicago defense this season, most in the NFL. Cornerback Tim Jennings has a league-best eight interceptions and Charles Tillman is tops in fumbles forced (seven). The Bears have scored seven touchdowns on defense as well.

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35

Takeaways by the Vikings since the start of the 2011 season. This year, the Vikings have five interceptions and seven fumbles recovered as a team.

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8

Percy Harvin’s NFL rank in catches through 10 games. When Harvin made his last reception, a 9-yarder early in the third quarter of a Nov. 4 game in Seattle, he led the league in that category. But a sprained ankle kept him out of the Vikings’ Week 10 win over Detroit and was followed by a bye week. In that time, seven receivers have leapfrogged past Harvin on the catch list. They are Indianapolis’ Reggie Wayne (76), New England’s Wes Welker (73), Dallas’ Jason Witten (73), Chicago’s Brandon Marshall (69), Detroit’s Calvin Johnson (65), Atlanta’s Tony Gonzalez (64) and Cincinnati’s A.J. Green (64).

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7-3

Vikings record after their bye week the last 10 seasons. They have sandwiched the bye week with victories four times in that span: in 2003, ‘04, ’06 and ‘09. Last year coming out of the bye, however, the Vikings were trounced 45-7 at Green Bay.

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25-11

Chicago’s record, including playoffs, in games started by quarterback Jay Cutler the past three seasons. Cutler may not be an MVP candidate but he has at least steadied the Bears offense. Without Cutler as the starter, the Bears are 2-6 with back-ups Todd Collins, Caleb Hanie, Josh McCown and Jason Campbell unable to jumpstart much. Cutler’s status for Sunday’s game with the Vikings is still up in the air as he tries to get past a concussion suffered Nov. 11 against Houston. 

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