Vikings-Bears game scout

Get the weekend's lineup of games and the vitals for the Vikings and Bears – the keys to the game, fast facts and notes from both camps.

Sunday
Seattle Seahawks (3-7) at St. Louis Rams (1-9)
Carolina Panthers (4-6) at New York Jets (4-6)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-9) at Atlanta Falcons (5-5)
Miami Dolphins (5-5) at Buffalo Bills (3-7)
Washington Redskins (3-7) at Philadelphia Eagles (6-4)
Cleveland Browns (1-9) at Cincinnati Bengals (7-3)
Indianapolis Colts (10-0) at Houston Texans (5-5)
Jacksonville Jaguars (6-4) at San Francisco 49ers (4-6)
Kansas City Chiefs (3-7) at San Diego Chargers (7-3)
Chicago Bears (4-6) at Minnesota Vikings (9-1)
Arizona Cardinals (7-3) at Tennessee Titans (4-6)
Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4) at Baltimore Ravens (5-5)
Monday
New England Patriots (7-3) at New Orleans Saints (10-0)


Chicago Bears (4-6) at Minnesota Vikings (9-1)


KICKOFF: Sunday, 4:15 ET
GAMEDATE: 11/29/09
SURFACE: FieldTurf
TV: FOX (Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Pam Oliver)

KEYS TO THE GAME

Can the Bears run the ball with any effectiveness? RB Kahlil Bell provided a spark behind Matt Forte last weekend and Chicago needs to churn out some yards against Minnesota's third-ranked run defense. If not, QB Jay Cutler's sagging confidence won't get a boost in the face of a Vikings pass rush that enters with a league-high 36 sacks.

Offensively, Minnesota presents a catch-22. Overload to stop RB Adrian Peterson and QB Brett Favre has his choice of weapons in WRs Bernard Berrian, Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin. But a seven-man front is playing with fire against Peterson, who has rushed for 554 yards and eight touchdowns in four career games against Chicago.

FAST FACTS

  • The Bears have lost five of their past six games.

  • Favre has a 112.1 passer rating and a 21-3 touchdown-to-interception ratio.

    VIKINGS

  • The Bears won 11 of the first 16 games in this series in the 1960s before the Vikings rebounded to take 15 of the next 20 meetings in the 1970s. The home team has won 12 of the past 14 games with the Vikings' victory at Soldier Field in 2007 and the Bears' victory at the Metrodome in 2006 as the only road wins in the series since 2002.

  • Minnesota's first regular-season game and victory came against Chicago when the expansion Vikings pulled a 37-13 upset at Metropolitan Stadium on Sept. 17, 1961.

  • QB Brett Favre had one of his best statistical performances against the Bears on Dec. 5, 1993, when he had a career-high 36 completions and 402 yards passing for the Packers in a 30-17 loss at Chicago. Favre had two interceptions and a fumble returned for touchdowns that day.

  • RB Adrian Peterson set a then-franchise record on Oct. 14, 2007, at Chicago when he rushed for 224 yards and tied a team mark with three rushing touchdowns in a 34-31 victory. Peterson also set a team record with 361 combined yards (224 rushing, 9 receiving, 128 on kickoff returns) in the game.

  • This will be the 97th meeting between these teams overall, which ties the Vikings series with the Packers for most games against any opponent.

  • Peterson is 1 rushing yard away from the 1,000-yard mark on the season. When he gets it, Pro Bowl guard Steve Hutchinson will have blocked for his ninth consecutive 1,000-yard rusher.

  • TE Visanthe Shiancoe has seven touchdown catches this season, putting him one away from tying Joe Senser's franchise record for most TD receptions in a season. Senser established the mark in 1981.

  • Vikings head coach Brad Childress grew up a Bears fan in Illinois and attended games at Wrigley Field.

    BEARS

  • Coach Lovie Smith and offensive coordinator Ron Turner have similar ways of ignoring the increased speculation about their job security.

    "Minnesota is enough to keep you occupied," Smith said. "You have to stay focused on the task at hand. Any team that is 4-6 right now, they're (getting asked) questions about what's going on on the football field. But things like that really don't affect what's going on. Our day is the same. We're trying to get better each day. We have a big game coming up this week. The focus is just on that."

    Turner has taken a lot of the flak for an offense that has turned the ball over too much and failed to take advantage of red-zone opportunities. He has a readily accessible diversion.

    "I just look at Minnesota film," Turner said. "I put that film on. I'm not going to think about anything else but Minnesota, and that's where all of my energy and all of my focus has to go. (It's about) how can we get our team better? (We have to) get our guys to perform at a high level consistently and do what they're supposed to do consistently."

    Asked if he was concerned about job security, Turner said: "I'm concerned about Minnesota. I'm concerned about playing well and doing what we have to do to win this game. We still have a lot of games left. We win this game, hopefully that can get some momentum going. Really, honestly, that's all I'm concerned about right now."

  • Despite five losses in six weeks, cornerback Charles Tillman, who forced three fumbles Sunday night, isn't conceding anything.

    "I think the day I lose hope is the day I need to retire," he said. "I'm always hopeful. I think this team is always hopeful. That's how you're supposed to be. It's kind of like coach Smith gets criticized for being so positive all the time. I think it's great that he's positive. I think that's why he's a good head coach."

  • No player in the NFL since 1955 has gone farther with his first carry than the Bears' Kahlil Bell, who sprinted 72 yards through the Eagles Sunday night on his initial carry as a pro.

    The last time anyone opened a career with a bigger bang was the Colts' Alan Ameche, who went 79 yards with his first carry 54 years ago.

    On the very next snap after failing to come down with a high throw from Jay Cutler on his first NFL play, Bell produced the Bears' longest run since a 73-yarder by Neal Anderson in 1989. The UCLA product says he's been carrying a chip on his shoulder for years, but that it actually helps him.

    "Everyone has always told me pretty much my whole life that I wasn't running back material," the 5-foot-11, 212-pounder said. "I wasn't fast enough, I wasn't strong enough, I wasn't quick enough. Naturally, when someone tells you that you can't do something, you want to prove them wrong. Someone tells me I can't do something, I look at them and say, 'OK, well watch.' "

    Bell ran only a 4.68 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine, slow for a running back, but he says that's not the true measure of a football player.

    "I think a lot of that stuff is overhyped and overblown," he said. "You see guys who run 4.3s or 4.4s get out there, and they can't even make a cut. Or you see guys like (former Bronco) Terrell Davis, who is a 4.7 guy at the combine, and his career speaks for itself.

    "At the end of the day, if you can put on the pads and you can be a football player, you're a football player."

  • Jay Cutler has been demonstrative in arguing for what he considers pass interference penalties against Bears receivers that don't get called, especially one Sunday night in front of the Bears' bench. But coach Lovie Smith says that's part of the game.

    "You can't do anything," he said. "The officials have never lost a game. We had all types of opportunities to win the game, to make plays. There are a lot of calls that could go either way. (But they) had nothing to do with the outcome of the game. That play, I saw it differently, but I see a lot of plays differently."

  • RB Matt Forte rushed for 152 yards on 44 carries in two games vs. the Vikings last season.

  • QB Jay Cutler has thrown 15 of his 18 interceptions this year in the Bears' five road games and just seven TD passes.

  • WR Johnny Knox has eight catches for just 66 yards in the past three games.

  • DE Adewale Ogunleye has just one-half of a sack in the past six games after getting 4 1/2 in the first four games.

  • WR Earl Bennett led the Bears last week with 57 receiving yards and is second on the team with 511 receiving yards and third with 40 catches after failing to catch a pass last year as a rookie.


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