Another week, another NFC North foe. The Bears will complete their first tour of their NFC North opponents with a Sunday night tilt against the struggling Vikings. To help us get up to speed with what is going on with the Vikings, we enlisted the help of The Viking Age to handle our 5 Questions. Here we go:
1. The Vikings are off to a rough start this season. What do you attribute their bad start to most – coaching, players, the lockout? Can they still turn it around and make some noise in what’s become a very competitive NFC North?
Big time players make big time plays and the Vikings have not had players making plays. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard Viking players talking about trusting the coaches and making plays. The players need to execute. That said, offensively speaking, I have not been thrilled with the play calling. When we entered the season I thought the Vikings wanted to run the ball, live off play action passing, and win on special teams.
Five weeks in and the Vikes are awful at controlling the clock (especially with a second half lead), the play action is abysmal, and in my view, special teams has been good. I’d like to see OC Bill Musgrave get creative in running the ball and continue to work the ball to play makers in the passing game. We have seen glimpses of an efficient offense this year but we haven’t seen it on any kind of consistent basis.
2. Is Donovan McNabb done? When do you think the Christian Ponder era gets underway?
That me boy is the million dollar question. Coach Frazier seems tied to McNabb. Keep in mind McNabb has been down right awful at times. So the coaching staff obviously doesn’t trust Joe Webb or Christian Ponder. So it seems we won’t see Ponder until very late in the regular season.
3. Is there any way to slow down Adrian Peterson? Is stopping him the key to shutting down the Vikings offense?
My moniker for Adrian this season has been Angry Peterson. He is running as hard and as mad as I have ever seen him. Shutting him down is easier said than done but it is key. Teams have been daring us to throw the ball all year. McNabb is struggling. If feet were hands then McNabb would be unstoppable. AD must be stopped but again, that is a tall, tall order. There are times we line up and everyone in the joint knows we are going to run and Adrian still pops off 4.2.
4. How to the see the Vikings’ defense matching up and attacking the Bears’ offense? Where is the defense most vulnerable? Where is the strength?
The Vikings defense is vulnerable and we will be without Winfield to boot. I look for a terrific chess match on Sunday night. It is clear that anyone who lines up against the Bears expect to get pressure on Cutler. So will Martz move to a short and intermediate passing game? If so, will Pagac counter with sending pressure? Will we see more screens and draws from the Bears to slow down the pressure? I think it’s going to be fun to watch.
5. What’s your outlook for Sunday night? Please include your prediction of the final score.
The Vikings will get pressure on Cutler, of course the hope is they can do that with the front four and if they have to bring pressure then that’s okay too. The Bears do not seem to be very dynamic in the passing game at the moment BUT the Vikings pass defense would make Navy’s passing game seem like the 49ers of the 80s. So if I’m wrong and the Vikes can not get to Cutler then the Bears could begin to do what they want in the passing game. Couple that with Forte and well it could get out of hand.
I don’t see that happening. I think the Vikes get to Cutler and force him into bad throws and a couple picks. The Vikings don’t have the firepower to run away with it so this will be close. Give me Vikes over Bears 20-17.
Be sure to head over to The Viking Age to see my answers to his questions.