Behind Enemy Lines: Vikings Personnel

Chicago will take on one of its biggest rivals this evening in the Vikings. We dive into the Minnesota roster and take a look at who exactly will be lining up across from the Bears tonight.


Quarterback: Donovan McNabb
McNabb is no longer the player he was in Philadelphia but he's torched the Bears for most of his career – he's 4-1 at Soldier Field. He still has a strong arm and can keep plays alive with his feet. Yet he's had trouble through the first five games moving the ball consistently through the air, due mainly to inaccuracy. He is completing just 56.8 percent of his passes, averaging just 155 yards per game and has thrown just four touchdowns. The team relies heavily on the run game so McNabb is more of a game manager. Still, if he's given time in the pocket, the veteran will surely be able to find success against Chicago's questionable secondary.

Running back: Adrian Peterson Peterson is a tank in shoulder pads. No other runner in the NFL can compare to his combination of speed and strength. He's a downhill runner who searches for contact, looking to deliver a blow on the poor soul trying to tackle him. Yet if he turns the corner and gets a step on the defense, he's gone. The Vikings' offense leans on him hard, especially under second-year head coach Leslie Frazier. Peterson's 498 yards rank second in the league. He's averaging 4.5 yards per carry, 100 yards per game and has scored 6 touchdowns. He doesn't present much of a threat as a receiver but what he can do on the ground alone is scary enough.

WR Percy Harvin
Peter Aiken/Getty

Wide receiver: Percy Harvin, Michael Jenkins, Devin Aromashodu, Bernard Berrian
This group doesn't scare many defensive coordinators around the league. Harvin is a big-play threat and has burned the Bears on numerous occasions in the past. He has top-tier speed and is dangerous after the catch. He likes to create separation on crossing routes then use his open-field ability to pick up extra yards. He's battling a rib injury but is expected to play. Jenkins leads the team with 20 receptions but for only 8.8 yards per catch. He's a mid-level possession receiver who uses his size (6-4, 214) well in the red zone. Aromashodu and Berrian have combined for six catches on the season. Berrian has been a disciplinary problem this year and likely won't see the field against the Bears. Aromashodu picked up 81 yards last week on two catches and will line up as the team's No. 3. He still has the good size and speed he showed while with the Bears.

Tight end: Visanthe Shiancoe, Kyle Rudolph
Shiancoe, a nine-year veteran, is still a threat down the middle of the field. He's crafty inside, using his body well to shield defenders, and has a good set of hands. The rookie Rudolph has a ton of potential. He's big (6-6, 258) and fast, has long arms and big hands, and he pulls in almost everything thrown his way. He's been targeted just nine times so far this year, mainly out of two-tight-end sets, but he's hauled in seven of those passes. McNabb hasn't taken many shots downfield this year, preferring mainly to dink and dunk to his two quality tight ends.

Offensive line: LT Charlie Johnson, LG Steve Hutchinson, C John Sullivan, RG Anthony Herrera, RT Phil Loadholt
Hutchinson is the elder statesman of this front five. At 34 he's still a quality player but he's not longer the dominant mauler he was in his prime. Loadholt and Johnson are both inconsistent on the outside and give up their fair share of pressure. Johnson is more of a finesse player, while Loadholt packs a punch. When he's playing well, he can dominate in the run game. Sullivan is a good young center who plays smart. He's not overpowering but he understands positioning and angles very well. Herrera is a savvy veteran who is powerful inside and solid in pass protection, yet he struggles at the second level. As a group, Minnesota's front five has given up 11 sacks – 17th in the league.


Defensive line: LE Brian Robison, NT Remi Ayodele, UT Kevin Williams, RE Jared Allen. Backups -- LE Adrian Awawom, NT Fred Evans, UT Letroy Guion, UT Christian Ballard.
Allen and Robison are playing at a very high level right now. They have combined for 13 sacks through the first five weeks, the highest total of any defensive line duo in the league this year. Allen's 8.5 sacks lead the NFL. The three-time Pro Bowler is having the best start of his career and is showing elite skills off the edge. He rusehes mostly from the offense's left side and he'll likely give Bears LT J'Marcus Webb fits all game. Williams is a gap penetrator who can be disruptive in the middle when opposing teams focus too much on the defensive ends. Ayodele and Evans rotate at nose tackle. Both anchor well against the run. The Vikings are fifth in the league against the run, due mainly to the stout play of the defensive line.

Chad Greenway
Hannah Foslien/Getty

Linebacker: SLB Chad Greenway, MLB E.J. Henderson, WLB Erin Henderson
Greenway is a top-tier linebacker who is second on the team in tackles. The Vikings franchised him this year at $10 million. He's a hard hitter who is a force against the run, yet does well in coverage too. He's one of the leaders of this defense who must be accounted for on every play. The Henderson brothers each play their position well. E.J. can cover sideline to sideline, while Erin is an effective blitzer.

Secondary: LCB Antoine Winfield, RCB Cedric Griffin, FS Husain Abdullah, SS Jamarca Sanford. Backups -- CB Chris Cook, CB Asher Allen
Winfield is doubtful to play, which knocks out the team's best player in the secondary. Cook will start in his place. The second-year player is big but inexperienced. Allen, a disappointment for most of his career, will serve as the nickel back. Griffin is a very good cover corner who plays physical with wide receivers. He's also solid against the run and a good open-field tackler. Abdullah and Sanford are risk takers on the back end. Sanford especially likes to create turnovers and teams like to take advantage of his aggressiveness. Both safeties are dealing with nagging injuries but are expected to play.


K Ryan Longwell, P Chris Kluwe, KR Percy Harvin, KR Lorenzo Booker, PR Marcus Sherels
Harvin and Booker have are big-play threats on kick returns. Both have great speed, particularly Harvin, who has already returned one kickoff 103 yards for a touchdown. Sherels is also a dangerous returner. His 15.2 return average is third best in the league. Longwell is a 15-year veteran who is 9 for 10 in field goals this year with a long of 53. Kluwe is a solid punter with a good, accurate leg. He's struggled against the Bears though – Devin Hester has returned three of his punts for touchdowns.

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Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit and become a Chicago Bears insider.

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