Bears Inside Slant: December 13

The Chicago Bears have had their own Adrian Peterson for six years now, but it's the other Adrian Peterson, the sensational rookie running back of the Minnesota Vikings, who's getting most of the headlines these days. Get the Inside Slant from the NFL experts at Scout.com.

INSIDE SLANT
Forget the film. The numbers alone from the Bears' last meeting with the Vikings are embarrassing enough – at least for the defense.

Adrian Peterson rushed for 224 yards, more than any player has ever run for against the Bears. The Vikings' 311 yards on the ground were the third-most allowed in franchise history.

"I don't know if he just caught us off guard, but he was better than us," Bears cornerback Charles Tillman said. "That's all it was. That day he was better than us. I tip my hat to him because he ran through our defense, and that's something that we don't take kindly to. We have pride, and that's one of the things that we definitely pride ourselves on is run defense."

Tough to forget?

"It's not easy at all because we were embarrassed," defensive end Adewale Ogunleye said. "He's a rookie, and you never want a rookie to run as much as he did on us."

The 5-8 Bears get a shot at redemption Monday night at the Metrodome, but their prospects for improvement aren't encouraging. Last week, they lost starting nose tackle Anthony Adams and backup tackle Antonio Garay. Three-technique tackle Tommie Harris is still playing hurt, and sometimes starter Darwin Walker might not even suit up in Minnesota.

Even though he missed 2 1/2 games with a sprained knee, Peterson has already rushed for 1,200 yards – second most in the league.

"He's fast, he's strong, he has power," Tillman said. "He has all those things in one bag. And he's explosive, too. So we've just got to come with our hard hats and be ready to go to work."

Before being trampled in that Week 6 game, the Bears were No. 12 in run defense. Now they're No. 24, although they shut down the Redskins' run game last week, allowing only 31 yards on 24 attempts. The 7-6 Vikings will be a bigger challenge. The NFL's No. 1 ground game has rushed for twice as many yards as the team that "gets off the bus running the football."

"Hopefully as captain of this team, I can get closer to him a little bit," Ogunleye said. "Hopefully we can get together this game and do some things differently than we did last game. He had some big runs last game, and he broke us down. We played him pretty well. I know it's hard to say that when somebody rushes for over 200 yards, but we did. He had a couple of big runs."

It'll take a lot more than Ogunleye to slow down Peterson and the Minnesota run game. The 49ers limited Peterson to three yards on 14 carries, but Chester Taylor rushed for 101 yards on just eight attempts and the Vikings won 27-7.

Taylor's 5.3-yard average per carry is second best in the NFL among players with more than 100 carries, trailing only Peterson's 6.1.

"Both backs are capable of doing the same exact thing if you don't play sound football," Ogunleye said. "So if I'm talking about Adrian this whole week, I'm talking about Chester, too."

The Bears are expected to do a lot of talking about, practicing for, and game-planning against a Minnesota running attack that has flourished without the benefit of a competent passing game. They're 31st in passing yards, and quarterback Tarvaris Jackson has just six touchdown passes all season and a passer rating of 73.0 – 27th in the league.

NOTES & QUOTES
Four-year veteran defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy, a former first-round draft choice of the Rams, was signed to the active roster Tuesday. Kennedy started 30 games with the Rams, including all 16 in 2006, but he was traded in June to the Broncos – they released him before the season.

"I've known Jimmy for a while," said Bears head coach Lovie Smith, who was in his final season as the Rams defensive coordinator the year Kennedy was the 12th-overall pick. "We have a few injured players on the defensive line, so it's good to pick up a player like that this late in the year. As far as whether he'll play or not [Monday night], we'll let all that take care of itself a little bit later on in the week."

This could be the last chance for the 6-4, 325-pound Kennedy, who never played up to his draft status with the Rams.

"I've been through the grind, and I know what it takes," he said. "It's humbling once you get released and you get a chance to come back. I'm getting the chance to make the best of the opportunity. I'm looking forward to it. I'm trying to redeem myself. It's a pride thing with me, and I'm one of those guys that has been on the outside." …

Anthony Adams, who started seven straight games at nose tackle before he was hurt against the Giants, didn't initially realize the extent of the injury to his right triceps.


DT Anthony Adams
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

"I didn't know what happened," said Adams, who is still second among Bears defensive linemen with 49 tackles and tied for second on the team with four tackles for loss. "I thought it was just real sore. But I got an MRI and the MRI said that it was torn, so I needed surgery [last Friday]."

Adams, one of the most pleasant surprises on a disappointing team, will be in a sling for a month and spend three to four months rehabilitating.

"I'm all right," he said. "I'm in good spirits. You can't climb the mountain if it's smooth. You've got to have some rough spots in the mountain to climb it. So this is one of my rough spots."

Adams played with the Bears' most recent acquisition, defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy, at Penn State and was drafted 57th overall in the same year (2003) – 45 picks after Kennedy. …

If he gets enough carries, the Bears' Adrian Peterson, running behind an ineffective offensive line, might actually make it to the line of scrimmage against the No. 1 run defense in the NFL.

Then again, maybe not. The Bears' A.P. averaged 2.1 yards per carry against the Redskins last week with a long gain of seven yards. In his last five games, Peterson has averaged 2.4 yards per carry, and on 91 carries this season he has a long gain of 11 yards.

He is an excellent receiver though with 41 catches already, and it might be in the Bears' best interest to abandon the run and get off the bus throwing. …

Head coach Lovie Smith was quick to deny that Kyle Orton's start at quarterback signaled the beginning of an evaluation period for next year's team.

"Oh, no," Smith said. "That evaluation period stuff, I'm not ... we're into trying to win this week, period. Kyle gives us our best chance to win this week, no more than that. We'll take that approach with all of our players."

Brian Griese has either started or been the backup for every game, except the week after he injured his shoulder against the Raiders, but Smith said he wanted a look at Orton.

"Brian has done a lot of good things," Smith said, "but I just think it's just time to see exactly what Kyle can do."

QUOTE TO NOTE
"You got three days to sit around and just think about how your season went down the drain [after] hoping that we would have a shot of making it to the playoffs and going back to the Super Bowl. But unfortunately we're not able to go to the playoffs, and right now we're playing for pride." – WR Devin Hester, on having the weekend off.

PLAYER PERSONNEL NOTES

  • RB Adrian Peterson has averaged 2.4 yards per carry in his last five games, and on 91 carries this season, he has a long gain of 11 yards.
  • WR Mark Bradley tied his season high last week with one catch, giving him four receptions for the season. The four-yard gain last week gave him 37 yards on the year.
  • DT Tommie Harris, who had four sacks in the first five games and seven sacks in the first eight games, has none in his last five games.
  • DT Darwin Walker, who is due a roster bonus in March, has one sack this season, has missed two games, and had one tackle in four others. He is questionable at best this week with an elbow injury.
  • LB Brendon Ayanbadejo, a Pro Bowl special-teams player last season when he had 28 tackles, has 23 special-teams tackles so far this season.

  • Is Devin Hester already the greatest return man ever?
  • An interview with running backs coach Tim Spencer
  • Ed "The Claw" Sprinkle: The Oldest Living Bear
  • A look at the autobiography Sayers: My Life and Times
  • Getting to know third-year quarterback Kyle Orton
  • All of that plus much more in the January issue of ...

    BEAR REPORT, the only publication exclusively dedicated to your Chicago Bears ... CLICK HERE to subscribe today


    Bear Report Top Stories