Bears looking to ‘shut everybody up'

The Vikings dominate the statistics and rankings when placed up against the Chicago Bears. And the Bears have been busy dishing out the compliments and accolades to the Vikings' weapons, but how it plays out on Sunday remains to be seen.

Having already lost games by 35 and 20 points to 7-3 teams, the prospect of facing the 9-1 Vikings seems a bit daunting for the 4-6 Bears.

"Everybody's expecting us to lose," nose tackle Anthony Adams said. "They've got Brett Favre, they've got Adrian Peterson and (guard Steve) Hutchinson, a great offensive line, a great defensive line, and they've got a lot of things going for them. Everybody's expecting us to fail but us. But we don't have a lot of pressure on us, and we need to come out with a win and that's what's going to shut everybody up, so that's what we're trying to do."

Good luck with that. On paper, by almost any criterion, this game looks like a blowout. The Bears offense is in the top 10 in three of 17 categories listed by the league: sacks allowed (No. 9), punt-return average (7) and kickoff-return average (8). The Vikings offense is in the top 10 in 11 categories.

"It could get real ugly up there," Bears defensive end Alex Brown said. "They're really good. We have to play well. So we'll practice and we'll try to go up there and play our best."

The Bears do have some advantages, at least on paper. Their defense is No. 10 in interception percentage, although the normally freewheeling Favre has thrown just three picks all year. The Vikings' defense is only 29th in interception percentage with just eight pickoffs all year, which is good news for Jay Cutler, who leads the NFL with 18 interceptions. The Vikings are also a mediocre 21st in passing yards allowed, but a lot of that yardage has come when opponents have fallen far behind and are obligated to put it up.

The Vikings have won games by 12, 14, 14, 17, 26 and 28 points. They have averaged 32 points per game in their victories and have so many big-play weapons that most opposing defenses have been unable to stifle all of them.

In just four games against the Bears, Adrian Peterson has rushed for 554 yards and eight touchdowns, averaging 6.2 yards per carry, and he did all that before Favre was around to diffuse the defense's attention. He is second in the NFL with 1,214 yards from scrimmage and third with 999 rushing yards.

"They have the best player in the game still in Adrian Peterson," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "He's had great games against us. We've seen him at his best."

And the 40-year-old Favre, who is having the best season of his career, has so many targets it hardly seems fair.

"We go from one poison to the next," Bears defensive end Adewale Ogunleye said. "Adrian Peterson's as good as it gets. I think he's really the key to that offense. If you don't stop him, you don't have a chance on Sunday. One guy isn't going to do it. He makes guys miss, he runs over guys, and he runs away from guys. He's just one of those complete backs."

And Favre has a large stable of targets, including Peterson and backup running back Chester Taylor, who have combined for 52 catches and 443 yards.
Bernard Berrian was the Bears' former go-to wide receiver, until he went to Minnesota via free agency after the 2007 season. But this year he's only the Vikings' fourth-leading receiver with 32 catches and 332 yards. Sidney Rice (50 catches, 875 yards) has emerged as Favre's go-to guy. Percy Harvin (36 catches, 501 yards) is a rookie of the year candidate, and tight end Visanthe Shiancoe has 33 catches for 324 yards and a team-best seven receiving touchdowns.

"You can't let Adrian Peterson run the ball," Brown said. "We've got to stop him, and then let's see if Favre can beat us."


  • OG Roberto Garza (ankle) returned to practice and is expected to start Sunday.

  • TE Desmond Clark (neck), did not practice and may miss his second straight game. He has just four catches for 14 yards in the last three games he played in.

  • RB Matt Forte has 18 receptions for 214 yards in his last three games but just 108 rushing yards on 39 carries, and he has not scored in any of those games.

  • TR Greg Olsen is third among NFL tight ends with six touchdown catches, but he has scored in just one of the past five games, although that was his three-TD day vs. the Cardinals.

  • RB Kahlil Bell is expected to get a handful of carries behind Matt Forte after debuting last week with a 72-yard run on his first touch in the NFL.

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