A look at four keys for the Bears to beat the Minnesota Vikings.
1. Gang tackle Adrian Peterson
Although Adrian Peterson might be on the wrong side of 30 for a running back, the focal point of the Vikings’ offense is defying the laws of aging. Peterson remains one of the top backs in the league despite his age and in spite of missing all of last season. Peterson is fourth in the league in rushing, averaging 4.4 yards per carry with 9 carries of at least 20 yards, three of which went longer than 40 yards. In other words, he’s still a home run threat. The Bears need a total team effort on defense to surround him and bring him to the ground.
2. Dictate the tempo of the game
The formula for success for most of the season has been to control the ball on offense to eat up the game clock and keep the opposing offense on the sideline. That formula has worked for the most part, but the Bears have just two wins this season because they’re just not finishing enough drives with points. If the Bears can continue methodically moving the ball down the field and taking large chunks of time off the clock, but finishing those long drives with touchdowns, they can force the Vikings to throw the ball and keep it out of the hands of Peterson.
3. Send pressure up the middle at Teddy Bridgewater
Teddy Bridgewater is not a good quarterback. Plain and simple. The Vikings offense starts and stops with Peterson, whereas Bridgwater is a mere caretaker. When the Viking’s quarterback does drop back to pass, he can be rattled by sending pressure up the middle on him. Of course, because he is a quick, versatile player, the Bears cannot let him escape the pocket because he’ll beat the defense with his legs.
4. Be mindful of field position
The Bears can’t afford to give the Vikings short fields with which to work. This means avoiding starting drives from within their own red zone and it means great punting from Pat O’Donnell, burying the Vikings deep in their own end. Playing at home in the friendly confines of Soldier Field, the Bears will have every advantage of making it difficult on the Vikings to move the ball by pinning them deep and giving the crowd a reason to get raucous.