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Bears vs. Vikings: A fast and dirty preview

The Bears and Vikings meet on Sunday in Minnesota. Can Chicago stop Adrian Peterson?


No Brian Urlacher and no Tim Jennings? Maybe Alshon Jeffery, maybe Devin Hester? From Halas Hall to Soldier Field, all week, the Bears have collectively been doing their best Alfred. E. Neuman impersonation about this weekend's game against the Vikings. And while "What, Me Worry?" as a refrain may work when it comes to soundbites for WGN, on Sunday the Bears will have some slightly less softball questions to answer. Namely, can the Bears hold Adrian Peterson at bay, and for how long? Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder has spent the second half of the season regressing back to the mean, with the Vikings receivers --save for Percy Harvin-- being dragged down with him. Meanwhile Peterson has spent the second half of the season racking up more and more yards and proving with each passing week, that indeed, Purple Jesus has risen; with "What, No passing game?" suiting Peterson as a soundbite and m.o. for this 2012 campaign. Peterson has been embracing the Vikings unique passing game as a physical challenge like he was on the set of Double Dare and not an NFL field. Two weeks ago, against an Urlacher-led Bears defense, Peterson shredded, dropping 108 yards on a mere 18 carries to the tune of 6 YPC. Yes, the Bears kept him out of the endzone, but the tension and perceivable threat of a Peterson touchdown is omnipresent when he's on the field. The man is a DEFCON 1 threat and his "rebound" season this year is more proof to his stellar game.

For the Bears offense, the issues sigh... begin with the offensive line. As the o-line goes, so go the fortunes of Jay Cutler and the Bears. In their game a few weeks ago the Bears line kept Jay's jersey clean with the Vikings recording nary a sack on the day. With a newly re-kajiggered offensive line still getting the hang of things, Gabe Carimi is now the right gurard, remember, and with Cutler's arsenal of wideouts a bit thin, expect to see lots of Cutler-Marshall connections and, fingers crossed, plenty of Matt Forte and/or Michael Bush out of the backfield to set up the play-action passing game that Jay and Brandon work so well.

It's a road game, and like it was two weeks ago, it's a must-win for the Bears and the Vikings. Unfortunately, I don't see this ending so well for Chicago this time around. Peterson is too much and the Vikings will stop their six-game skid against the Bears at home on Sunday.

Prediction: Vikings 24, Bears 17