While the Bears have been scrutinized for the past several years waiting for signs of age on their best defensive players (Lance Briggs, Julius Peppers, Charles Tillman), the clock has been ticking ominously for the Minnesota Vikings.
The Vikings squeaked into the playoffs last season with their four best defensive players 30-plus: end Jared Allen (31), linebacker Chad Greenway (30), end Brian Robison (30) and tackle Kevin Williams (33).
Allen, after nearly setting the NFL single-season sack record running past J’Marcus Webb in game 16 of 2011, has tailed off with just five sacks in his last nine regular-season games going back to mid-2012.
Williams is expected back Sunday after missing the Detroit game with a right knee injury suffered in the third preseason game. The once-dominant inside force has had just eight sacks total over the past three seasons.
“To get him back in the huddle, back on the field, it will left everybody on our defense, on our team,” said coach Leslie Frazier. “He’s one of our leaders, so it would be great to get him back in the fold and have his leadership on the field as much as his talent.”