NFL - Minnesota Vikings at the Chicago Bears

17 October, 2011 at 01:00 (GMT+01:00)

By Steven Roy

Sidepodcast F1: Peterson and Harvin of the Minnesota Vikings

Credit: Arvee5.0 / CC:Flickr

Peterson and Harvin of the Minnesota Vikings

Both of these teams play in the NFC North division and both of them are struggling. Chicago have won 2 and lost 3 games this season and the Vikings are doing even worse having only won one of five. However that does not mean the match has nothing to recommend it.

Bear hug

One player worth keeping an eye on is Chicago number 23 Devin Hester. As well as playing as a wide receiver he is best known as a kick returner. When the opposing team kicks off or punts the ball it is his job to catch it and carry it as far up the field as possible. Normally a player doing this will gain 10 or 20 yards and be tackled but Hester since he started playing professionally has had a habit of running back kicks for touchdowns. So any time the Vikings kick or punt, keep an eye on number 23.

When Chicago’s offence is on the field the player to watch is the quarterback Jay Cutler (No.6). The whole team is struggling just now but players like Cutler and ex-Dallas Cowboys running back Marion Barber (No.24) on their day can take any team apart.

The Chicago defence is led by Line Backer Brian Urlacher (No.54). He is a genuine star having been named NFL defensive player of the year and been selected for 7 Pro-Bowls. It is also worth keeping an eye on corner back Charles Tillman (No.33). He has played his whole career for the Bears and as well as being involved in much of the tackling the useful habit of intercepting passes.

Viking quest

The Vikings offence is led by quarterback Donovan McNabb (No.5). After 11 seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles he spent last year with the Washington Redskins then moved to Minnesota this season. His move was not well timed as the Vikings are no longer the team they were when they just missed out on going to the Superbowl a couple of years ago.

Statistics don’t tell you everything but one stat that tells you how badly they are doing this season is that neither of their two first choice wide receivers has scored a touchdown in 5 games and Percy Harvin (No.12) and Bernard Berrian (No.87) are averaging 4 catches per game between them. Fortunately for the receivers the running game is fairing a lot better with Adrian Peterson (No.28) averaging 4.5 yards per carry and 100 yards per game.

The Vikings defence is a bit of a disaster. They do quite well against the run but when teams pass against them they crumble. They are giving up an average of 350 yards a game and that guarantees they will lose a lot. Normally I would pick out a couple of defensive players to watch but I don’t know where to start with this lot.

Traditionally Vikings-Bears matches are old fashioned blood and guts running football but with these two teams at this time anything could happen. One thing is certain you do not want to be late for this game because if the Vikings kick off Devin Hester could have run it back for a touchdown before the game is 15 seconds old.

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