Bears’ dilemma: Peterson or Berrian?

October 16th, 2008 - 1:35 pm

In a perfect world, the Bears would enter Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings and handle them as easily as they did the Detroit Lions two weeks ago.

The Bears defense held the Lions to 54 yards rushing and 131 yards passing, for a season-best 185 total yards.

But, as we know from last week, you can’t always take away both dimensions of an offense. The Bears kept the Falcons’ No. 2 rush offense in check and held the NFL’s leading rusher, Michael Turner, to just 54 yards on 25 carries. However, in shutting down the run game, the Bears were susceptible to the pass and allowed rookie Matt Ryan to throw for 301 yards and a touchdown.

While the Vikings are no Falcons, they’re not as bad as the Lions, either. And the choice the Bears have to face is, do they stack the box and try to stop one of the league’s most explosive runners? Or do they try to keep things balanced to prevent former teammate Bernard Berrian from having a joyous homecoming game of sorts?

After beginning the season slowly with Tarvaris Jackson at the helm, Berrian has come on strong after Gus Frerotte has taken over the reins and recorded 11 receptions for 241 yards and 2 touchdowns the past two weeks. Granted, those two games were against two of the bottom pass defenses in the league, the Saints and Lions, but they’re still alarming totals.

Now, as a Bears fan, there’s only one thing I enjoy more than watching a former player, who followed the big money out of town, come back to Soldier Field and fall flat on his face. And that one thing is a Bears victory. So, if that means allowing Berrian to have 10 catches for 150 yards and 2 touchdowns in exchange for containing Adrian Peterson and the ground game and picking up a divisional win, so be it.

Ideally, I’d like it to be a miserable return to Soldier Field for the overrated, overpaid former Bears receiver — and I’m sure so would several of his former defensive teammates. But the Bears can’t forget which player almost single-handedly beat them twice last year.

Keying in on only one facet of the Vikings’ offense would be a mistake, as the Falcons proved last week. But stopping both of them will be a tall order.