Grading the game: Bears

The Vikings put in a good all-around effort on Sunday night, one of the most consistent games of the seasons. The grades reflect that consistency from all phases of the game.

PASSING OFFENSE: B-minus — Gus Frerotte threw for more than 200 yards after being below that mark for four consecutive games. Much of the damage came on one second-quarter play. Frerotte, operating from his own 1-yard line, threw a pass that an uncovered Bernard Berrian caught at his own 45-yard line and took all the way for a 99-yard touchdown. It was easily the longest pass play in Vikings history and gave Minnesota a lead it would not relinquish. Frerotte ended up 16 of 25 for 210 yards with the touchdown and an interception and had a respectable 87.1 passer rating. The interception came off a deflected pass but, nonetheless, was not a well-thrown ball. Berrian bounced back after catching four passes in the previous three games to have four receptions for 122 yards against his former team. Running back Chester Taylor also caught four passes, but they only went for 19 yards.

RUSHING OFFENSE: B — Adrian Peterson had another big game against Chicago's defense. Peterson rushed for 131 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries, making it the third time in four career games he has gone over the 100-yard mark against the Bears. The performance also enabled Peterson to move back into the NFL rushing lead with 1,311 yards. Peterson, whose longest run went for a season-high 59 yards, has exceeded the 100-yard rushing mark in seven of 12 games this season. As a team, the Vikings have exceeded the 100-yard mark nine times. Chester Taylor added 46 yards on 10 carries, including a 21-yard run for a touchdown.

PASS DEFENSE: B-plus — The unit not only held Bears quarterback Kyle Orton to 153 yards - 65 came on a short pass to Devin Hester that turned into a touchdown - but it also picked off Orton three times. This included safety Darren Sharper's first interception of the season. Sharper had not had a pick since December of last season when he also stepped in front of an Orton pass; Orton had not thrown an interception since Sept. 28 entering the game. Linebacker Ben Leber and nickel back Benny Sapp also had interceptions. Orton was under pressure for much of the game and Pro Bowl defensive end Jared Allen was credited with three sacks and now has 11 on the season.

RUSH DEFENSE: B — The Bears became only the fourth team to rush for 100 yards or more against the Vikings this season. Rookie running back Matt Forte gained 96 of Chicago's 103 yards on the ground, but he did not get yards when it mattered most. The Bears had a first-and-goal at the Vikings 1 in the second quarter and three times tried to punch it in the end zone with run plays. Forte had two of those runs and in both of those cases he was stopped cold. On fourth down, nose tackle Pat Williams, linebacker Ben Leber and defensive end Jared Allen all managed to halt Forte's progress. This play was especially key because the Vikings took over at their own 1-yard line and Gus Frerotte immediately hit Bernard Berrian with a 99-yard touchdown pass. The Vikings remain second in the NFL in rush defense after Sunday's games.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B — This unit has been shaky for much of the season but that wasn't the case Sunday. Devin Hester averaged 4 yards on three punt returns. About the only negative was that Chicago's Danieal Manning took a kickoff 43 yards to give the Bears good field position. But considering the Vikings gave up two special teams touchdowns in their 48-41 loss on Oct. 19 at Soldier Field, this performance had to be considered a vast improvement. The Vikings also got a 49-yard kickoff return from rookie wide receiver Darius Reynaud, who was returning kicks for the second game this season. Punter Chris Kluwe averaged 47.4 yards gross and 37.6 yards net and put one inside the 20-yard line. Kicker Ryan Longwell made both his field-goal attempts, hitting form 23 and 27 yards.

COACHING: B — Considering the Vikings started the season 0-2 and 1-3, coach Brad Childress deserves credit for keeping his team on track. The Vikings' convincing victory over the Bears put them in sole possession of first place in the NFC North. With a game at woeful Detroit next on the schedule, that lead could be extended. Childress and his coaching staff have been criticized for conservative play-calling at times, but there was nothing conservative about Gus Frerotte's 99-yard touchdown pass to Bernard Berrian in the second quarter to put the Vikings ahead. The Vikings coaches also made some obvious adjustments from their first game against the Bears. One was using rookie safety Tyrell Johnson at times in a dime defense that helped slow Chicago's tight end duo of Desmond Clark and Greg Olsen. Those two combined for only two catches after having a combined nine catches in Chicago.



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