Chicago Bears Vs. Minnesota Vikings: Bears In First Place In NFC North

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BEARS GAME QUOTES: Lovie Smith, Devin Hester, Brian Urlacher, Brad Childress

Bears coach Lovie Smith on today’s win:

“It seems like every game since week one around here we talk about the crowd and that was definitely the case today, they were outstanding. From the start [they were] on their feet, and it was left up to us to give them something to cheer about. Offensively, I feel like we had control of the game most of the time. We had a few turnovers that knocked us back a bit but for the most part we did what we set out to do. Our running game got going well, of course Chester (Taylor) and Matt (Forte). The offensive line did an outstanding job pass blocking and of course with the run. And our passing game, Jay (Cutler) did a great job of distributing the ball to all the receivers and they made plays. It seemed time after time someone else would come up with a big play. I thought (Devin) Hester was outstanding on his returns and of course the touchdown run of getting the ball in the end zone. The defensive side of the ball it is about taking the ball away and the guys really did a super job of that. Even Corey Graham trying to get it out of there on that last kickoff for them. Defensively too, we had control of the game up front, had good pressure and whenever you can hold a great player like (Adrian) Peterson down like that you have to be pleased with that. And the third phase, we talk a lot about special teams, again coverage and the return game contributed. For us, we are in first place in our division and that’s our goal. This was a big game, in order for us to hopefully be the champs of our division you have to beat the champs, so it was a big win for us today. Injury-wise we came out of the game in pretty good shape. We should hopefully get Zack Bowman back next week because we have a quick turn around.”

Devin Hester on his big day and whether he thinks touchdown every time:

“I give all of the credit to my teammates. Those other ten guys did a great job out there. Everything just seemed so easy today. Guys just went out and busted their tails and got on their guys and gave me an opportunity to find holes. … Every time. That’s my mentality. I felt there were one or two things that we hoped not to happen, but they did. But, other than that, we had some great big runs out there, and they really helped out the offense a lot.”

Brian Urlacher on the Bears’ offensive effort and on Hester:

“It’s always nice to sit there and watch them. We’re not complaining about that. It was nice. We ran the ball pretty well. Jay (Cutler) through it when he had to. The line protected him. That’s the way we want to play – offense and defense and special teams. … Unbelievable. The guy is awesome, the best ever. He’s one return away from breaking the all-time record, so I hope he gets it soon. He deserves it. He’s a bad man.”

Vikings coach Brad Childress gives the Bears credit:

“Hats off to the Bears. They made more plays when they had to, more than we were able to make. At the simplest level, you have to be able to stay on the field offensively, and you have to be able to get off the field on the defensive side of the football. That was a struggle for us. People ask about third downs and I think there were nine; seven of them were double-digit third downs, which lends itself to first and second down issues, loss yardage plays, or certain yardage plays or incompletions. The kicking game, we knew that was going to be a huge factor, with the winds blowing. Thought we had some good field position early, but obviously we weren’t able to tie those guys down to their side of the field, but it’s really important for us to make these corrections and cast our gaze forward to another division opponent, Green Bay.”

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RECAP: Jay Cutler Throws Three TD's; Devin Hester Has 147 Return Yards In Win

Chicago, IL (Sports Network) – Jay Cutler threw three touchdowns to lead the Chicago Bears over the downtrodden Minnesota Vikings, 27-13, in an NFC North tilt at Soldier Field.

Devin Hester caught a touchdown pass and added 147 yards in the return game for the Bears (6-3), who are now tied with the Packers atop the division after their second straight win.

Cutler connected with nine different receivers, completing 22-of-35 passes for 237 yards while getting intercepted twice.

Brett Favre, fresh off a career-high 446-yard showing in Week 9, was 18-of-31 through the air for just 170 yards with three interceptions and a lost fumble for the Vikings (3-6), who have dropped eight straight regular season contests on the road dating back to 2009.

“The last thing I want to do is make excuses…It’s just disappointing,” a dejected Favre said of how the season has turned out thus far. “I don’t know how to sugarcoat it. If we don’t play any better than we played today, the writing’s on the wall. I’d love to say something different, but that’s the way it is.”

Most of Favre’s yards came on a 53-yard scoring strike to Percy Harvin, who appeared to suffer a knee injury in the fourth quarter.

Minnesota erased a late 14-point deficit against Arizona last week and pulled out a 27-24 overtime win, seemingly saving Brad Childress’ head coaching job in the process.

By not pulling off a second straight comeback, Childress may be on the hot seat with the Vikings trailing the division leaders by three games.

Husain Abdullah came up with his second interception of Cutler in the end zone to keep the Vikings within 20-13 heading to the fourth.

Minnesota went three-and-out, however, and a short punt gave the Bears the ball back at their own 45-yard line. On third-and-inches from the Minnesota 19, Kellen Davis was left wide open down the middle of the field thanks to a play-action fake, and Cutler hit the tight end for a 27-13 cushion with 8:37 to play.

Harvin was injured on the kickoff return, and to add insult to injury, Lance Briggs picked off Favre on the Vikings’ second play from scrimmage.

The Bears failed to convert the turnover into points, but Chris Harris sealed the win with a diving interception, Favre’s 16th of the year, at the Chicago 20 with 2:27 on the clock.

“Offensively it felt like we had control of the game most of the time…For the most part we set out what we wanted to do,” Bears head coach Lovie Smith said. “On the defensive side of the ball, the guys did a really super job of taking the ball away. Our line had good pressure.”

Ryan Longwell’s 36-yard field goal accounted for the only points in the first quarter, and the kicker clanged a 39-yard try off the left upright early in the second.

Cutler, who was picked off on the previous drive, hit Greg Olsen between three defenders for a 17-yard score with 6:57 left before halftime.

The Vikings went back in front when Favre, throwing on the run, led Harvin down the right sideline for a 53-yard TD at the 3:17 mark.

Rashied Davis returned the ensuing kickoff 32 yards to the Minnesota 49, and the Bears took advantage of the short field. A pair of third down conversions moved the ball to the 19, where Hester took a short pass over the middle and did the rest, diving over the goal line from the four with 44 seconds showing.

Favre lost a fumble just before the break, but the Bears couldn’t capitalize as Robbie Gould hooked a 43-yard field goal try wide left to keep it 14-10.

Gould made up for it with a 34-yarder early in the second half following a D.J. Moore interception for a seven-point Bears lead.

Later in the third, Harvin drew a 42-yard pass interference penalty on Danieal Manning, setting up Longwell’s 33-yard field goal with 8:14 showing.

Hester gave Chicago great field position for its next two possessions, but the Bears came away with only three points. The return specialist had a 68-yard kickoff prior to Gould’s 37-yard kick, then danced down the right sideline for a 42-yard punt return before Cutler’s aforementioned pick in the end zone.

Game Notes

The Bears went 11-for-19 on third down, while Minnesota converted just once in nine third-down situations…Matt Forte paced Chicago with 69 yards on 21 carries, while Johnny Knox led the receiving corps with 90 yards on five receptions…Adrian Peterson came into the game averaging 122.2 rushing yards per game against the Bears and was held to 51 yards on 17 carries…Harvin finished with 64 yards on four grabs…Chicago travels to Miami for a game against the Dolphins on Thursday, while the Vikings host Green Bay next Sunday.

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Bears Vs. Vikings Final: Bears Win 27-13

The Bears are 6-3, and tied for first place in the NFC North, after beating the flawed and all but eliminated Minnesota Vikings. It was by far the most complete effort by the offense, and Chicago was clearly dominant in every phase of the game.

It was a solid outing by Jay Cutler, who was adequately protected throughout the game by his line, and his offensive coordinator, who mixed run and pass plays, and schemed lots of quick routes and short drops for his quarterback.

Devin Hester had another career day in the return game, and the defense held tough, and kept Adrian Peterson from gaining much yardage.

This is a Bears team that can run with anybody in the NFC, if they can maintain the poise,and even-handedness they showed today

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Bears Vs. Vikings: No Miracle Finish For Favre Today

On the Bears next kickoff, the Bears appeared to recover a Percy Harvin fumble, that Brad Childress successfully challenges. Harvin is shaken up on the play. Two plays later Childress throws the red flag on what’s originally called a Lance Briggs interception.

But Childress loses this challenge and the Bears once again take over in Vikings territory.

Yet another penalty pushes them back, but Chester Taylor, who is having a stellar game against his former team, claims some yardage back. But the Bears are forced to punt, and Brad maynard pins Minnesota on their 1 yard line.

With five minutes remaining, and the Vikings down by 14, the talk of Brett Favre’s comeback last week dominates the broadcast booth.

But the Bears defense is not the Arizona Cardinals Defense, And Brett Favre is intercepted by Chris Harris, the 17th time Favre has thrown an INT this year.

The Bears have possession, and a two-touchdown lead, at the two-minute warning.

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Bears Vs. Vikings: Kellen Davis Catch Makes Makes It A Two Score Game

The Bears have committed ten penalties through three quarters, but have managed to hold their lead. The Minnesota Vikings have been flaccid on offense thus far, but have thus far kept it a one score game.

Bears special teams have been huge throughout. The offense is very balanced, and has kept Cutler safe with short drops and good protection. Cutler is spreading the ball around well, and has thrown only one ill-advised pass so far, the end zone interception.

Cutler hits Kellen Davis over the middle, for a touchdown, on Dacis, first catch of the year

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Bears Vs. Vikings: End Of Third Quarter; Bears Lead 20-13

The Bears defense held strong, and Devin Hester breaks off a 43 yard punt return, to give the offense field position in Vikings territory for the fifth time in six possessions.

Penalties continue to plague the offensiveline, but Jay Cutler continues to bail them out, with long passes for first downs. They find themselves in scoring range again.

But Cutler is intercepted in the end zone to end the third quarter .

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Bears Vs. Vikings: Robbie Gould increases Bear Lead Following Long Hester Return

Devin Hester is making the most of his return to kickoff returns, breaking a long one to bring the Beras deep into Vikings territory. Ckutler continues to play solid offense, showing very steady game management, taking what the defense gives him.

Robbie Gould is good from 37 yards increasing the Bears lead 20 to 13

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Bears Vs. Vikings: Ryan Longwell Pulls The Vikings Closer; 17-13 Bears

The Bears defense remains steadfast, finding Adrian Peterson and Brett Favre behind the line of scrimmage. The Vikings can’t seem to get anything going offensively.

After a Bears three-and-out, they retake the field at the their own 43, and Percy Harvin draws a pass interference on Manning to bring them down to the Bears 15 yard line. but once again cannot convert and have to settle for a field goal attempt, which Ryan Longwell makes from the 33 yard line.

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Bears Vs. Vikings: Gould Makes It 17-10 after Favre Turnover

The wind is a continuing issue for both teams, making kickoffs, punts, and field goals a risky proposition. A tipped Favre pass on their first possession is picked up by the Bears wh have the ball in the red zone.

They can’t convert, and Robbie Gould connects from 34 yards.

The wild and wooly nature of the first half, continues early here in the thlird quarter.

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Bears Vs. Vikings Halftime Notes

The Bears lead Minnesota 14-10 at the half. It was nearly 17-10 but Robbie Gould couldn’t connect from near mid-field before time expired.

The Bears defense has held well, save for leaving Percy Harvin uncovered for a score early. But the Bears defense has been getting to Favre, sacking and stripping him of the ball, and chasing him out of the pocket.

The offense looks strong, moving the ball downfield, converting third downs and scoring. Hopefully they can settle down, and limit the second half penalties. The line is holding up well and Cutler has had good protection thus far.

The Bears will start the second half kicking off to the Voikings, who deferred possession in the first, choosing to take the wind to their backs to start.

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Bears Vs. Vikings: Cutler Hits Hester For Touchdown

The wind continues to be a factor, as a short kick and Rasheed Davis goes 32 yards to put the Bears at midfield.They coontinue to be successful on third down conversions, even with the rash of penalties.

Jay Cutler finds Johnny Knox across the middle, and the Bears are rolling at the two-minute warning, on the 35 yard line. And a 15 yard personal foul nullifies a Jay Cutler nine yard run.

But again Cutler finds Knox, and keeps the drive alive. The Bears are 7-10 on third downs, and they’re inside the 20, and Cutler hits Devin Hester who takes it in for a score with under a minute left. A booth review holds up the call.

On the ensuing VikingsBrett Favre is sacked and stripped of the ball, and the Bears end the half with a missed field goal attempt from beyond the 40.

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Bears Vs. Vikings: Vikings Re-Take Lead 10-7

The Vikings start their next drive from their own 31 yard line, stalled, and they go three-and-out. The strategy seems to soften up the Bears defense with Adrian Peterson runs, than go to the air.

The Bears start from their own seven yard line, after the Minnesota punt.. the Vikings will have good field position after a three-and-out by the Bears.

Brad Maynard has to pick the snap up off the ground to punt 38 yards

On the Vikings first play, Brett Favre finds Percy Harvin all alone for a 53 yard touchdown. The Vikings longest of the season.

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Bears Vs. Vikings: Cutler To Olsen Touchdown, Bears Take Lead

An intentional grounding call on Favre and a nice Chicago defensive stand stops the Vikings drive. Ryan Longwell hits the upright, from 39 yards, giving the Bears the ball back with decent field position.

Chester Taylor’s first two runs of the game, brings the Bears close to midfield. The wind continues to be a challenge for both teams. The Bears have already committed four penalties on the day. A false start gives them 3-11, but Jay Cutler finds Johnny Knox for 30 yards, and the bears are in Vikings territory with 10:18 in the second quarter.

Jay Cutler and his receivers are finding their rhthym. With a balanced attack , the Bears are moving the ball well. But a holding call negates a touchdown catch by Greg Olsen, who gets it back on the next play

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Bears Vs. Vikings: First Quarter, Vikings Lead 3-0

The Bears waste a 43 yard Devin Hester kick off return, when the Vikings intercept a tipped pass to Johnny Knox from Jay Cutler, his eighth interception of the season.

The Vikings open their drive, from their own 43. Their drive has been kept alive by two defensive holding calls, both in Bears territory. The Vikings are threatening at the end of the first, from the Bears 22 yard line.

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Bears Vs Vikings: Vikings Lead 3-0

The Vikings first possession featured Adrian Peterson. He’s run up the middle been the target on some pitches and screens, that have helped put the Vikings deep into Bears territory.

They send out the field goal unit, and Ryan Longwell is good from 36 yards. It’s the first time the Vikings have scored on their opening drive this season. Center John Sullivan was taken to the sidelines during the drive, they’re looking at his ankle.

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Bears Vs Vikings Game Time!

Thee Bears are playing for a share of first place in the NFC North. The Vikings kicked off with Devin Hester receiving. Percy Harvin and Bernard Berrian will both play for Minnesota.

The Bears start out moving the ball nicely, with a scramble by Jay Cutler keeping th drive moving, but stalling at the Minnesota 36. The Bears punt it away with 10:09 remaining in the first quarter, for a touchback.

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Bears Vs. Vikings: Percy Harvin To Start; Randy Moss Approaches A 'Record'

According to the NFL Network, Percy Harvin will start today against the Bears. Harvin has been battling ankle problems, and has had ongoing problems with severe migraine headaches. He was questionable to play.

The NFL Network has an interesting spin on Randy Moss’ starting for his third team this season: Will he break a record?!?

Nobody has ever caught a touchdown pass for three seperate teams in one season, you see…Soo if Moss pulls in a TD for the Titans this year, he will be the first.

But that’s not a “record” really, is it? It’s not a feat of athletic prowess, as much as it is an indictment against a player whose ego is more important than team success.

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Bears Vs. Vikings Game Day Update

Welcome to SB Nation Chicago's Game Day StoryStream: The Chicago Bears meet the Minnesota Vikings in Soldier Field at 12:00 p.m. CST. We'll be here before, during , and after the game to bring you highlights, news and updates, so stick around!

Schadenfreude: It's the German word for the pleasure we derive from the misfortune of others. Brett Favre is 22-10 against the Bears lifetime. Brett Favre owns most of the quarterback records for Soldier Field, including most passing yards, most completions, most starts, and most touchdowns...So we can be forgiven, perhaps, if we indulge in a bit of schadenfreude over some of Brett (and the rest of the Vikings) recent woes. To recount some of Favre's most recent troubles, read here and here.  

The Vikings have lost their last eight road games, and they're more than a little banged-up, particularly at the wide receiver position. Sidney Rice, is still not activated, Percy Harvin and Bernard Berrian are both game-time decisions with Harvin still feeling the effects of ankle and migraine problems, and former Bear, Berrian nursing his groin.

And then, there's Brad Childress. You can read farther down this StoryStream for accounts of the Vikings head coach, and his recent run-ins with....well, everyone.

Weather: The current forecast calls for mostly cloudy skies, with a high in the mid 40's. Winds from the WSW at 13 mph.

Your Forecast? : The Bears are trailing the Vikings by an alarming margin on our poll at the bottom of this stream. But there's plaenty of time to turn it around, Bears fans. Go ahead and cast your vote before kickoff!

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Bears Vs. Vikings: Sports Network Preview

NFL Preview – Minnesota (3-5) at Chicago (5-3)
Sports Network | November 12, 2010

(Sports Network) – Brad Childress was given a reprieve from what seems to be an inevitable divorce from the Minnesota Vikings this past week, but the embattled head coach still has plenty of work to do before he finds himself off the hot seat.

The same can be said for Childress’ team, which will once again find itself competing under a sense of desperation when it heads to historic Soldier Field this Sunday for a pivotal mid-November showdown with the rival Chicago Bears.

With its season — and Childress’ immediate future as well — possibly hanging in the balance, Minnesota staged a stirring fourth-quarter comeback to get past the Arizona Cardinals in a 27-24 overtime thriller last weekend. The reigning NFC North champions scored a pair of touchdowns in the final 3:34 of regulation to force an extra period, then came up with a key defensive stop in additional time before moving into range for kicker Ryan Longwell’s deciding 35-yard field goal.

Rumors had been swirling prior to the game that Childress was on the verge of being fired, with his hasty and surprising decision to waive mercurial wide receiver Randy Moss shortly after the Vikings’ Week 8 loss at New England the impetus for the intended move. The decision was reportedly made without consulting team owner Zygi Wilf, who was said to be furious over having his authority usurped over the matter.

The saga was temporarily overshadowed by another memorable episode in the legendary career of Brett Favre, with the 41-year-old quarterback dipping into the Fountain of Youth and emerging with a personal-best 446 passing yards and two touchdown strikes.

While the improbable victory certainly resuscitated Minnesota’s dying postseason hopes, it remains to be seen whether it will have a galvanizing effect with word continuing to surface over the players’ growing discontent with Childress. But with still two games to make up in the NFC playoff chase, the 3-5 Vikings will need to put aside their differences if a strong second- half charge is to take place.

The scene is a bit more harmonious in Chicago, where the Bears stand at 5-3 at the season’s midway point and trail first-place Green Bay by only a half-game in the NFC North standings. Head coach Lovie Smith’s crew will also be entering Sunday’s divisional clash with a momentum surge, having rallied for a much-needed 22-19 triumph over still-winless Buffalo last week in Toronto to halt a two-game losing streak.

Chicago also trailed in the fourth quarter of its matchup with the lowly Bills, but cornerback Tim Jennings came up with a critical interception with just over nine minutes to go that led to quarterback Jay Cutler’s two-yard touchdown pass to Earl Bennett that put the Bears ahead to stay.

Cutler atoned for a brutal five-turnover display (four interceptions, one fumble) in a 17-14 home loss to Washington on Oct. 24 by throwing for 188 yards and two scores without a pick, while a maligned offensive line that surrendered a troubling 19 sacks over the strong-armed signal-caller’s previous three starts allowed just one in Chicago’s first outing off a Week 8 bye.

The Bears will now set their sights on ending a two-game skid at home when they take on a Minnesota team that could get one of its top offensive weapons back into the fold on Sunday. Wideout Sidney Rice, who amassed 83 catches and 1,312 receiving yards with eight touchdowns during a breakout 2009 campaign, appears close to returning from a preseason hip procedure that has kept him out of the Vikings’ first eight contests. The fourth-year standout has been practicing during the week and is considered a game-time decision.

SERIES HISTORY

The Vikings lead the regular season series with the Bears, which dates back to 1961, by a 52-43-2 count. The teams embarked on a conventional home-and-home split of last year’s series, with Minnesota earning a 36-10 rout at the Metrodome in Week 12 and Chicago returning the favor with a 36-30 upset victory in overtime at Soldier Field in Week 16. The Vikings are 0-2 at Soldier Field since last winning there in 2007, and have allowed 115 points in their last three trips to Chicago combined.

The clubs have also met once in the postseason, a 35-18 Bears road win in a 1994 NFC First-Round Playoff tilt.

Smith is 6-6 against the Vikings as a head coach, while Childress is 4-4 against both Smith and the Bears as a head man.

WHEN THE VIKINGS HAVE THE BALL

Favre (1896 passing yards, 9 TD, 13 INT) also matched a career-high by completing 36 of his 47 pass attempts in last week’s epic performance, while workhorse running back Adrian Peterson (857 rushing yards, 26 receptions, 8 total TD) had a season-low 15 carries for 81 yards with the Vikings saddled with a sizeable deficit for much of the Arizona game. Expect the play-calling to be considerably more balanced this time around, with Minnesota getting the NFL’s second-leading rusher more involved in the game plan to better utilize his remarkable skills. The wide receiver situation is somewhat unsettled heading into Sunday, with Rice a possibility to make his 2010 debut but leading pass-catcher Percy Harvin (40 receptions, 519 yards, 3 TD) a question mark for the game after he experienced a recurrence of migraine headaches during this week’s practice sessions. The Vikes would be hard-pressed to replace the dynamic sophomore if he can’t go, as he’s delivered back-to-back 100-yard efforts and is one of the league’s premier return men as well. Favre will still have a few capable options regardless of Harvin and Rice’s statuses, however, as wideout Bernard Berrian (18 receptions) posted season- bests of eight catches and 89 receiving yards last week and both tight end Visanthe Shiancoe (24 receptions, 2 TD) and reserve receiver Greg Camarillo (10 receptions) had identical lines of four receptions and 66 yards against the Cardinals.

Keeping the powerful Peterson in check is no small task, but the Chicago defense may be one that’s up to the challenge on Sunday. The Bears are permitting just 83.9 rushing yards (3rd overall) and 3.5 yards per attempt on the season and limited Buffalo to a paltry 46 yards on 18 carries in last week’s win. A stout front seven is headed up by three players with multiple Pro Bowl citations in middle linebacker Brian Urlacher (55 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 1 INT), weakside starter Lance Briggs (40 tackles, 1 INT, 1 sacks) and domineering end Julius Peppers (20 tackles). Chicago’s prized free-agent acquisition during the offseason, Peppers has managed a rather pedestrian two sacks thus far, but the athletically-gifted lineman’s ability to draw double teams has freed up counterpart Israel Idonije (25 tackles) to record five quarterback takedowns over the team’s last five games. The Bears have been tough against opposing aerial attacks as well, ranking second in pass efficiency defense and having yielded a league-low five touchdowns through the air. Cornerbacks Jennings (34 tackles, 1 INT, 5 PD) and Charles Tillman (47 tackles, 2 INT, 9 PD) are both having strong seasons, while nickel back D.J. Moore (20 tackles, 5 PD) has snared three of the club’s total of 11 interceptions.

WHEN THE BEARS HAVE THE BALL

While the Chicago defense has been exceptionally steady all season long, the offense is still trying to find itself under first-year coordinator Mike Martz. The Bears are currently 29th in the NFL in total yards (289.5 ypg) and 27th in scoring (18.5 ppg) and have gotten scant production out of the running game, with top rusher Matt Forte (401 rushing yards, 29 receptions, 6 total TD) having found it hard to discover open lanes behind the team’s shaky line. Protection for Cutler (1671 passing yards, 9 TD, 7 INT), who’s had his difficulties fully mastering Martz’s intricate scheme, has been a major issue as well, with the front wall having given up a league-worst 32 sacks through the eight games. Cutler has often been forced to dump the ball off to Forte, whose 315 receiving yards is the second-most on the team behind wideout Johnny Knox (27 receptions, 527 yards, 1 TD), a dangerous big-play threat who’s averaging 19.5 per catch on the year. Bennett (24 receptions, 1 TD) has been coming on of late as the No. 2 receiver, having averaged slightly over 60 receiving yards over the past three tests.

A vaunted Minnesota pass rush that topped the NFL with 48 sacks a year ago is finally beginning to come around after a inexplicably-slow start to this season. The Vikings amassed six sacks against the Cardinals last week, matching the team’s entire total over the first seven games, with All-Pro end Jared Allen (26 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 1 INT) breaking through for 2 1/2 takedowns of Arizona’s Derek Anderson and linemate Ray Edwards (18 tackles, 3.5 sacks) getting two sacks on the opposite side. Forcing turnovers remains a sore spot for a defense that’s allowed the fifth-fewest yards in the league (304.6 ypg), however, with the Vikes having compiled a lackluster 10 takeaways so far. Chicago’s struggles in running the football figure to continue for another week against a unit ranked seventh overall versus the run (96.3 ypg). Led by active outside linebacker Chad Greenway (83 tackles, 1 sack) and the Pro Bowl tackle tandem of Kevin Williams (18 tackles, 1 sack) and Pat Williams (17 tackles), Minnesota held the Cardinals to a mere 53 yards on the ground in Week 9.

FANTASY FOCUS

The most reliable sources of fantasy points in this game will likely come from the running backs. Although Peterson failed to eclipse the 100-yard mark in both his 2009 meetings with Chicago’s sturdy run defense, the All-Pro back did total three touchdowns and is an every-week starter regardless of the opponent, while Forte’s prowess as a receiver helps offset his lackluster rushing numbers and is a solid choice as well. While Favre proved with last week’s outburst he’s still able to put up big stats, the three-time MVP’s overall inconsistency should have his owners proceeding with caution, and the same mantra applies to the often-erratic Cutler as well. Harvin’s status needs to be monitored up until game time, but give him the go-ahead if active, while those with Rice on their rosters should still hold off on playing him until he shows he’s ready to take on a full allotment of snaps. All other Minnesota receivers carry considerable risk, while Knox is the only recommended member of the Chicago corps. Neither of these teams have been lighting up the scoreboard with regularity, which makes Longwell and Bears kicker Robbie Gould less than appealing options but both defenses worth a long look.

OVERALL ANALYSIS

Last week’s uplifting victory may be just what the underachieving Vikings needed to jump-start their fortunes, but having to sweat out a win at home over a mediocre Arizona team still brings a red flag into the equation. The Bears haven’t inspired much confidence as well despite their good overall record, so this one really could go in either direction. Count on a hard- hitting battle that will be dominated by the defenses and should be decided by whichever club does a better job of keeping its mistakes to a minimum. Minnesota’s current seven-game road losing streak and minus-nine turnover margin are clear warning signs that could sway the outcome in Chicago’s favor.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Bears 20, Vikings 16

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Bears Vs. Vikings: Childress Says Harvin Is '50-50' To Play Sunday

Injury report: Olin Kreutz participated in practice Friday, in a limited role. His hamstring injury. Corner Zack Bowman is questionable for Sunday, but was also able to practice.

The Vikings reported that safety Jamarca Sanford and corner Asher Allen did not participate Friday and are considered doubtful for Sunday.

Wide receivers Percy Harvin (ankle/migraine) and Bernard Berrian (groin) are listed as questionable. Leaving the question: If quarterback Brett Favre can play, who will he throw the ball to?

Favre (foot/ankle/calf) is listed as probable, as are tackle Phil Loadholt (knee) and defensive end Pat Williams (elbow).

SB Nation Chicago Game Updates: Don't forget that SB Nation Chicago will be providing updates all through game day, including during Sundays match up against the Minnesota Vikings, 12:00 P.M. CST.

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Bears Vs. Vikings: Thursday News And Notes

Injury Report:  Olin Kreutz was held out of practice for the second time this week, with hamstring problems. Coach Lovie Smith expressed confidence in his return tomorrow. Lance Louis filled in at center for practice today.

Cornerback Zack Bowman saw limited participation, as he returns from a neck stinger, and fellow cornerbacks D.J. Moore and Tim Jennings returned to full participation.

The Minnesota Vikings held Brett Favre to limited participation, nursing ankle and foot problems. Also seeing limited duty were tackle Phil Loadholt (knee) and defensive tackle Pat Williams.

Corner Asher Allen (concussion), wide receiver Percy Harvin (ankle/ migraine), and safety Jamarca Sanford (hamstring) were all held out for the second day.

Insult to injury: Former Jets sideline reporter Jenn Sterger met with NFL investigators today, allegedly with evidence of her claims of harrassment against then Jets quarter back Brett Favre. She was accompanied by both her lawyer and manager.

Injured and insulting: Viking DT Pat Williams had plenty of sharp words for former teammate and current Bear Chester Taylor. Chicago Breaking Sports quoted Williams as saying (among other things), "Chester don't even start, so we don't worry about him right now. He ain't the starting running back. He's the backup, so we're going to try and put the other back out and put Chester in there. At the end of the day, we don't worry about Chester."

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Bears Vs. Vikings: Rumblings Against Brad Childress Getting Louder In Minnesota

Chicago Sun-Times reporter Sean Jensen writes today, that dissent is growing among Vikings players regarding head coach Brad Childress. He quotes several anonymous players on their unhappiness and overall distrust of Childress, who has been on the hot seat since training camp.

The Vikings' poor showing (3-5) so far this season, after going 12-4 and advancing to the NFC championship game last year, has only added fuel to the fire. In addition, giving up a third-round draft pick to the New England Patriots for what amounts to a three-game rental on Randy Moss, has done little to endear him to ownership.

Chief among player complaints, is a sense that Childress is disloyal, and has publicly questioned certain players' ability or will in the media.  Percy Harvin was stung by an implication from Childress that his effort was lacking in a recent game. And his sometimes snide comments at the press conference podium, have left many wondering just how deep the rift between coach and players actually runs, in Minnesota.

Last Sunday, after Brett Favre put together an overtime win, coming behind from a two touchdown deficit and throwing for an impressive 427 yards, Childress still managed to deride the future hall of fame quarterback. When he was asked how he felt after the game he sneered, "I'm not going to stand here like Brett Favre and tell you I need compassion, I need a hug. I'm all right.".

While all the players indicated they weren't going to allow their soured relationship with their head coach affect their will to succeed, it will be worth watching for further cracks in the Vikings foundation.

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Bears Vs. Vikings: Olin Kreutz Sits Out Practice

Chicago Bears center Olin Kreutz was the only player not on the practice field this afternoon. He was hindered by a hamstring problem.

Defensive end Julius Peppers, who was hurt at the end of the Bills game Sunday, was at full participation.

Cornerback Zack Bowman, returned to limited participation, after missing the last wo games with a sprained foot.. Also limited were D.J. Moore (head), and Tim Jennings (knee).

For the Vikings, Brett Favre sat out today, with a sore ankle,

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Is Dave Toub The Bears 'Head Coach In Waiting'?

It's mid-season and one head coach, Wade Phillips late of the Dallas Cowboys, has gotten the axe. And there's no doubt more will come. That's why at this time of year is always thick with speculation and theories as to who's next to go, and who will take their place. Mike Mulligan of the Chicago Sun-Times cites rumors around Halas Hall that Dave Toub is next in line for Lovie Smith's position, should he be fired.

Keeping in mind that Lovie has one more year on his contract, and that the Bears orginization HATES firing people they still have to pay, plus the fact the Bears have never fired a coach during the season, what do you think?

Lovie Smith has more than his share of detractors, and naming successors for him has become as popular a game as darts or foosball in some Chicago area taverns. Nominees include former Steelers coach Bill Cowher, or former Bears quarterback Jim Harbaugh. Ron Rivera, who has a history with the Bears as a player and coach, is a popular choice.The Bears do have three former head coaches on staff in Rod Marenelli, Mike Tice and Mike Martz.

Toub has done some exceptional work on special teams, and absolutely deserves a look. But he's awfully good in the role he plays now. And if they finish well, I think the organization keeps Lovie on for another year. The idea of putting in another offensive coordinator, with another new system for Jay Cutler and his targets to learn may not sit well with management.

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Chicago Bears Vs. Minnesota Vikings Preview: A Nordic Saga

The Chicago Bears came back from their bye week a little more balanced and a little less freewheeling on offense, and beat the Buffalo Bills 22-19 in Toronto last Sunday. The running game was back, and Jay Cutler was poised and had good protection.They come home to host the Minnesota Vikings this week.

The Vikings (3-5), for many, have been the NFL story of the year. Media darling Brett Favre has been injured and re-injured, but he has still answered the bell each week -- not missing a start. Head coach Brad Childress has been under duress from the media since before the start of the season, and the Vikings' poor showing so far this season hasn't made it any easier on him. Stories of dissent, lack of respect for the head coach, and the Randy Moss rebellion have made this look like a lost season for the Vikings. Favre still had enough of his former magic to throw for 427 yards last week to beat the Arizona Cardinals in overtime.

This will be a big game for both teams. It's a conference and division game, but it's also gut-check time. The Bears need to win this game to stay with the Packers, who go into their bye week on a high note, having thrashed the Dallas Cowboys 45-7 on their Sunday night date on national television. A win would put the Bears back in a tie for first place in the NFC North.

A loss for the Vikings would all but drop them from the playoff picture entirely, and the rumblings for change in Minnesota would begin in earnest. And the Vikings have lost their last eight road games going back to last year.

We'll be keeping you up-to-date with injury reports, news, and notes all week long. Keep watching here all the way through game time.

Go Bears!

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