Talented Bunch

The Vikings have several obvious offensive weapons in quarterback Daunte Culpepper and receiver Randy Moss, but Bears defensive coordinator is worried about another factor.

Minnesota running back Michael Bennett is in his second year and Blache feels he will improve the Viking offense.

"The young (Michael) Bennett kid was a rookie when we first saw him later in the season he really improved himself running the football and that's one of the things that helps there passing game. When they can have a running back and a running game that puts some pressure on you where you can't line up and play seven guys in the box all day. When they force you not to be able to double Moss that helps them a great deal."

Bennett had 682 yards rushing during his rookie season, but had to 100-yard plus efforts in the second half of the season.

"This team is always a challenge for us offensively. They have so many weapons and we've just got to prepare to go out and play our best football right out of the box opening day. We've just got to come out and face I think one of the top offenses in the league and we have no real warm-up period. This will be the first time we have our whole defense on the field intact with the number ones, so it will be interesting."

Going into the season opener Blache isn't happy with the way his defense played in the preseason. According to Blache the starting unit that gave up plays against St. Louis, Jacksonville and Miami.

"In this league you sleep if you sleep on Moss and Culpepper for a play it's seven points. If you sleep for two it's 14 and if you sleep for three take the bus home you just lost the football game and that's the fact of life. We slept three plays last week. We slept three plays the week before we can't sleep three plays against these people."

Down to the Wire: Since 1970, 20 games between the Bears and Vikings have been decided by three points or less. That's the second most in the NFL, trailing only the Broncos and Raiders (23).

Last season the Bears swept the Vikings for the first time since 1995, winning 13-10 at Soldier Field and 13-6 at the Metrodome.


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