One man’s prediction: The Vikings are 1-11 in their past 12 games in Chicago, and recent meetings haven’t been particularly close. The Bears led the NFL with 44 takeaways last season and their defense created three turnovers in a victory against Cincinnati in the opener, which is a huge area of concern for the Vikings after Christian Ponder accounted for four turnovers last week. Bears 27, Vikings 20
Even though the Vikings have not had much recent success against the Bears, Adrian Peterson seems to enjoy those matchups. He has rushed for 1,085 yards and 14 TDs in 10 meetings. In his rookie season in 2007, Peterson rushed for 224 yards and three touchdowns at Soldier Field, the second-highest rushing total of his career. The Bears almost certainly will stack the box against Peterson and force Christian Ponder to make throws to beat them.
The Bears still have familiar faces on offense — Matt Forte, Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall — but this will be their first look at new coach Marc Trestman’s system. Vikings defense end Jared Allen said the Bears line up in shotgun more than in previous seasons and do some different things in the running game. “To be honest, I think it’s going to be a fun game to play because this is a downhill running team,” he said.
Well, Matt Kalil shouldn’t literally hold Bears defensive end Julius Peppers, but the Vikings Pro Bowl left tackle faces a tough matchup coming on the heels of his shaky opener against Detroit. Kalil struggled against the Lions’ speed, particularly on inside rushes, because of what he described as a flaw in his technique. Kalil said Peppers was his toughest matchup from his rookie season, calling him “the whole package.” Kalil sounded motivated to prove that his Week 1 struggles were nothing more than a hiccup.
MANO-A-MANO: MATCHUP TO WATCH
Vikings punter Jeff Locke vs. Bears return man Devin Hester
The rookie punter had a rough NFL debut, averaging only 42.2 yards on five punts.
Already owns NFL record with 12 punt returns for touchdowns. He also has five TDs on kickoffs.
Who has the edge?
Vikings fans in living rooms everywhere undoubtedly will scream the same advice to Locke in unison Sunday: DON’T KICK IT TO HESTER!
THE BIG NUMBER
20 The Vikings’ margin of defeat (actually 20.3) in their three previous trips to Chicago, including a 28-10 loss last season.
Matt Forte, Bears: The Vikings had trouble stopping Detroit’s running game last week and were vulnerable against short, underneath routes to Reggie Bush. If that trend continues, Forte could have a big game — he’s one of three Bears with 5,000 yards rushing and 2,000 yards receiving for Chicago.