On Sunday the Vikings will look to win their 2nd game of the 2011 season. And to do so, they’ll have to beat the Chicago Bears at their home stadium, something the Vikings have done just once since the 2001 season.
The lone victory at Soldier Field over the last 10 season came in 2007, when RB Adrian Peterson, then a rookie, gashed the Bears for 361 total yards; he had 224 rushing yards, 128 return yards and 9 receiving yards. Peterson also had 3 TDs that day. The key series in that game was a 53-yard kickoff return by Peterson that set up Ryan Longwell’s game-winning 54-yard FG as time expired.
The Vikings probably shouldn’t count on similar performances this time around. The 54-yard FG was Longwell’s career-long and the 361-yard output by Peterson was the 3rd best in NFL history. But in order to defeat a Bears team that has lost 3 of 4 games since opening the season with a win against the Atlanta Falcons, they’re going to need a buttoned-up, nearly mistake free effort from all three phases.
Can it happen? Yes it can. All season the Vikings have been good at running the ball (they rank 3rd in rushing), stopping the run (they rank 5th in run defense) and limiting turnovers (they are +3 in turnover ratio). The Vikings will need to perform up to par in these areas and also find a way to pressure Bears QB Jay Cutler and keep their own QB protected from the likes of DE Julius Peppers and star LBs Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher.
Sunday night’s Vikings-Bears matchup will mark the 101st meeting between these two division rivals. The first 100 games in this series – 49 of which have been away for the Vikings – didn’t produce a very good road record for the Vikings – they are 21-26-2. But a new 100 games begins this week, and it’s a good time for the Vikings to reverse their fortunes at the storied venue of Soldier Field.
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