The Bears find themselves in the same spot they were last week, with six wins and in the divisional fight. The same can be said of the Bears' division rivals, the Packers and Lions, who went into last week with six and five wins, respectively, and only gained half a win to show for it (the Packers tied). There won't be a chance for the Bears to take a full lead this week unless there's a tie, because the Packers and Lions actually face each other on Thanksgiving. So, the Bears will have to keep pace with someone in the division. (Sat. Morning Edit: The Packers winning could have given the Bears a lead if the Bears win on Sunday, but, well... Yeah.)
Since Last Time: The Bears and Vikings last played all the way back in week 2, so there's been a lot of time between these games. The Vikings fell to the Browns before gaining their first win at the hands of the Steelers, then lost four straight before beating the Redskins. They then lost to the Seahawks before eventually tying with the Packers last week. They now sit at 2-8-1, still last in the NFC North.
The Vikings picked up Josh Freeman, but between Freeman, Christian Ponder, and Matt Cassel, they still haven't exactly settled on a true "starter", although Ponder's picked up that role by default after Freeman suffered an injury. Last time out, Ponder threw for 233 yards and a touchdown, and I'm still a little hopeful for his career - the completion percentage is there, but he still needs to not get picked off as frequently.
The core of the Vikings' offense is still Adrian Peterson. If that wasn't a known fact, well... yeah. And his year's still a very strong one - he's three yards shy of one thousand on the season with ten of the Vikings' fifteen rushing touchdowns. Four of those other touchdowns are from Ponder, for whatever it's worth - at least he brings a fair amount of athleticism to be third on the team in rushing with 151 rushing yards.
Cordarelle Patterson's still getting things done in specials, but because of how the Vikings get a lot of people involved in the receiving game, Jerome Simpson leads the Vikings with 546 rushing yards, with Greg Jennings next with 439 yards. Kyle Rudolph leads the team with three receiving touchdowns, but, I mean, the team has Adrian Peterson for the red zone. And the 20s. And everything else.
Defensively, Jared Allen and Brian Robison still exist, and both have five sacks. After the beatdown Robert Quinn laid on Jermon Bushrod, Allen has to be ready to line up against him. Bushrod needs to redeem himself.
Of course, the Vikings still get sacks and pressure from all over the field, as linebackers Chad Greenway and Erin Henderson have themselves combined for five sacks. They still aren't an aggressive, ball-hawking bunch, but Josh McCown will need to avoid a second interception on the year, and certainly a fumble for a touchdown.
I'll discuss more of how the Bears can win in Six Keys this weekend, but it has to start with containing Adrian Peterson and protecting Josh McCown. McCown got hit way too frequently last week, and the Bears haven't been able to stop the run all season long. In week 2, the Vikings ran for 123 yards en route to scoring 30 points, and that was when the Bears' defense was nearly fully healthy. The last two weeks, the Vikings have run for 132 and 232 yards, and four times in the last five the Vikings have run for over 100 yards.
(Really though, I could have just written this article by saying "Adrian Peterson" seventy-five times. But where's the fun in that?)