The Minnesota Vikings have not won in Soldier Field since 2007, Adrian Peterson’s rookie season. Peterson is now the only member of that offense still with the team.
Peterson back then was the chief determinant of outcome of a Bears-Vikings game. He may still be but there is more. Much more.
In the Bears’ loss to Minnesota in the teams’ second meeting, Peterson ran amok in a record-setting first-quarter. The offense scored the first two times it had the ball, then never again. The winning points came on safety Harrison Smith’s interception of a Jay Cutler overthrow, returned 56 yards for a touchdown.
[VIEWER'S GUIDE: Bears have more than Peterson to worry about]
Peterson had 153 rushing yards for the game. Of those, 125 yards came in the first half and 69 of those came on the game’s first possession, 51 on the first play.
The overarching point is that Peterson can run amok for a series, a quarter, a half, and the Vikings not be able to win because of that.
More than one Bears player and coach said last week that the real secret to beating the Vikings was realizing that Peterson will very likely do something spectacular but not to let that one play or series deliver a psychological blow as well as one involving yardage.
The Detroit Lions were gashed for 78 yards and a touchdown the first time Peterson touched the football. He netted 15 yards on the next 17 carries and the Vikings lost.
“They seemed to rally after that first run and kind of contain him,” said defensive end Corey Wootton.
The Bears started their season off in superb fashion last Sunday with the offense shrugging off a very poor (97 yards, one touchdown) first quarter vs. the Bengals. Their intent this week is to start far faster and avoid any possible letdown defensively when/if Adrian Peterson establishes Minnesota’s rushing game in one carry.
And so the winner is...
The Bears have an opportunity to both bury the Minnesota Vikings at 0-2 and to get off to a 2-0 start for just the second time in quarterback Jay Cutler’s five seasons in Chicago. They started 2-0 in 2006 and 2010, seasons that ended in the Super Bowl and NFC Championship game, respectively.
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Game one was a victory despite the Bears being far from where they expect to be offensively this season, netting just 97 yards in the first half. Teams that can win when they don’t play their best are ones to take notice of.
Bears 24, Vikings 14