Welcome to Week 2! It’s the Chicago Bears hosting the Minnesota Vikings in this early season NFC North matchup. Let’s take a closer look at the teams and preview the action.
Minnesota Vikings (0-1)
The Vikings have a tough draw to start the season. They were on the road against NFC North rival Detroit Lions and now head to Soldier Field to face the Bears. The Vikings couldn’t get past the Lions in Week 1, as Matthew Stafford and Reggie Bush led the Lions’ offensive attack. Meanwhile, Ndamukong Suh led the Lions in cheap shots. Needless to say, the Vikings come in with a sense of urgency. No team wants to go 0-2 to start the season, much less to be 0-2 in their division.
Vikings Offense (19th ranked)
The Vikings offense begins and ends with Adrian Peterson, who had a miraculous season coming off a torn ACL late in 2011. Peterson stormed back in 2012 and just missed setting the single season rushing record by a handful of yards. Peterson roared out of the gates to kick off 2013, going off for a 78 yard TD run to open the game. The Lions largely bottled him up after that, though he did have another rushing and a receiving TD.
That’s the good news for the Vikings. The bad news? Christian Ponder. Ponder was awful in the season opener, throwing three interceptions to go along with the short touchdown he tossed to Peterson. Ponder will need to make a big leap in Week 2 if the Vikings stand a chance. He’s lost his top receiver from 2012, as Percy Harvin and his bad hip were shipped off to Seattle, while an old face gets a new home. Greg Jennings, longtime rival, becomes the Vikings’ #1 receiver. Rookie Cordarrelle Patterson and tight end Kyle Rudolph figure to be threats in the passing game, while we’ll see if Jerome Simpson is a one week wonder or the real deal.
In the trenches, Matt Kalil has had a rough preseason and a bad outing in Week 1, while John Sullivan seems to be none the worse for wear after the Suh chop block. Phil Loadholt is just that, a load on the right side.
Vikings Defense (29th ranked)
It’s hard to draw any real conclusions after one week, but a 29th ranking for the Vikings certainly raises a few eyebrows. Up front, longtime nemesis Jared Allen leads the way, as DT Kevin Williams is expected back from a preseason knee injury. The linebacking group, led by Chad Greenway, is a plus group. Keep an eye out for free safety Harrison Smith, who had a big interception of Cutler last season.