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.


Getting to the quarterback

Posted by: Kent Youngblood under Vikings, Bears, Leslie Frazier, Vikings defense, Vikings offense, Vikings players, John Sullivan, Kevin Williams, Leslie Frazier Updated: November 26, 2012 - 3:38 PM

 Pressure drop

The Bears entered Sunday’s game with the Vikings ranked near the bottom of the league at allowing sacks. So why is it the only time Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was technically sacked was when he got his foot stepped on by his own lineman, falling to the ground?

In other words, why were the Vikings unable to get to the quarterback?

A big reason, Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said, is that the Vikings rarely put the Bears in the position of having to get the ball deep downfield. “They had a lot of five, six-yard passes and trying to run after the catch,” Frazier said. “So we didn’t get them into the kind of game we needed to be, where we were able to take advantage of what we thought was an opportunity for our defensive line.”

The Bears started the game by chipping on the Vikings defensive ends with the tight end, and never really had to deviate from that plan. Things were different for the Bears against San Fransicso the week before. In that game Chicago got behind early and had to get more aggressive in the passing game. 

Sunday the Bears came out with a conservative game plan -- helping the line with tight ends and backs -- and the Vikings never forced Chicago to change. 

“Their passing game was different than what they had used the week before or the week before that,” Frazier said. “They really shortened some things down, which was smart. They did the right things to do.”

And the Vikings offense never put the Bears in a position to have to change things up.

“In (the San Francisco) game they were behind,” defensive tackle Kevin Williams said. “They had to get receivers out and backs out to catch the ball. (Sunday) they chipped our ends and doubled up inside. That made it tough to get to the quarterback.”

 

Etc.

--Williams was asked if playing outside, on natural grass, was a problem for the Vikings. Minnesota will do that again this week in Green Bay. “You’ve just got to execute,” Williams said. “Doesn’t matter where you play the game at. It’s about executing and doing your job. If you don’t do it you don’t win, whether it’s inside, outside or on the roof.”

--Center John Sullivan said the Bears used an unusually high amount of line stunts in an attempt to get pressure on quarterback Christian Ponder. “There were a lot of line stunts, but that’s also because they were up by so much, we were forced to pass the ball. It’s a byproduct of how the game is going. When a defense like the Bears can get you behind, and they can just pin their ears back and pass rush, it can be a pretty tough group to deal with.”

 

 

 

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