Vikings-Bears Part II

When the Vikings first played the Bears this year, it was supposed to be a requiem for the dead in Minnesota. Instead, as the two teams prepare to meet for the second time, it is the Vikings that are riding high and the defending NFC champs that are trying to avoid a double-digit loss season.

With the Bears coming up, it seems like a sense of déjà vu for the Vikings. It was supposed to be their first meeting with the Bears that would be the ultimate demise of the Vikings' 2007 season. Instead, it became the catalyst that has propelled the team forward.

While not the greatest artistic success, the first meeting of the teams this season put Adrian Peterson on the map with national NFL types in a big way – to the point that within a day or two of his electrifying performance at Soldier Field, the sports talking heads were actually debating whether, less than half a season into the league, A.P. might already be better than LaDainian Tomlinson.

A record-setting rushing day against the Chargers only kicked that debate into a higher plane. The issue has become more intensified as the Bears prepare for their return to the Metrodome for the rematch. Did the 49ers discover a blueprint to shut down Peterson by blitzing corners on a regular basis to shoot gaps and not allow Peterson to get a head of steam? Or is it merely a recipe for disaster for teams that don't have the tackling corners the Niners do? You can bet the Bears will keep an eye on a team that allowed A.P. about 220 yards less than they did.

The Bears' fall from grace has been pronounced, going from the Super Bowl in February to insignificance in December. The team is going nowhere. They're starting a quarterback whose last action was a loss to the Vikings in the final game of the Mike Tice era and they're now being asked why they allowed a rookie running back to run up, down and over their once-vaunted defense.

You almost feel like the Bears are a criminal returning to the scene of the crime. With the world watching Monday night, they're going to be hard-pressed to stop a motivated Peterson and Vikings offense. The mighty have fallen and the entire sports world may bear witness to the final death blow being delivered on Monday night – thanks to a Vikings team that left them for a dead a month ago.

* Former Vikings assistant Emmitt Thomas, who was Vikings' defensive coordinator in 2000-01, was named the interim head coach of the Falcons Wednesday after first-year coach Bobby Petrino, who has a five-year history of stabbing employers in the back by either accepting or pursuing other coaching offers, bailed on the Falcons with three games remaining in the season to become the new head coach for the University of Arkansas. Good luck, Razorbacks.
* Just when you thought the NFL couldn't stop tinkering with on-field decisions, guess again. Just days after having Pat Williams' apparent interception changed to a fumble, it was learned Audrae Allison broke his own record from two weeks ago. Allison, who had what was thought to have a 103-kickoff return, had the play changed to a 104-yard kickoff return by the Elias Sports Bureau.

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