If the Bears were just planning to show up on Sunday night and kick around the 1-4 Minnesota Vikings, those plans may have taken a change now that all-world defensive end Julius Peppers might not play. Losing Peppers seriously hurts an already shaky Bears defense. So shaky, in fact, that they just benched both starting safeties Chris Harris and Brandon Meriweather after a poor showing on Monday night football against the Lions.
The Vikings offense seems pretty one dimensional with an aged Donovan McNabb at the helm, so stopping Adrian Peterson seems to be the order of the day. With the inexperienced safeties like second year man Major Wright and rookie Chris Conte getting the nod, the threat of Peterson’s running will open up the play action passing game. Without the pressure that Peppers provides, McNabb could find the time in the pocket to try to get the Vikings’ passing game going.
In Peppers’ absence, Izzy Idonije, Corey Wooten and Henry Melton will be called on to hold it down at the defensive end spots while newcomers Nick Reed and Mario Addison are expected to see time. While DT Matt Toeaina is sidelined with a knee injury, bench press superstar, rookie Stephen Paea, is expected to make his first contributions of the season.
If the defense from last week scared you, this weeks’ unit could be downright nasty. It will take All Pro performances from Urlacher and Briggs to keep this team from getting roughed up and keep the Bears in the game. Let’s hope Jay Cutler and the offense can hold up their end of the bargain and take some pressure off the defense.