You know, it feels like just last week that we wrote these pieces about the Vikings and all that assorted pregame stuff. Oh wait, not last week - two weeks, close enough. But both teams are in similar circumstances to the last matchup - the Vikings needing a win to stay in wild-card relevance, the Bears needing a win to make up for the one they didn't pick up last week against an NFC West opponent after coughing up first place in the NFC North to the Packers. Whew, that's a mouthful.
Adrian Peterson? Eh, he's all right, I guess - I mean, he hasn't rushed for fewer than 108 yards in his last six games with six touchdowns, and that 108 yards was against the Bears at Soldier Field. Turf monster ate him? Eh, probably. But you want to know something really scary? Over that time, he's raised his yards-per-carry to 6.18 on the season, which is just awesome - and over those last six games, a ridiculous 7.83 YPC. When you're the one thing keeping your team's offense afloat, and with three of those on the road (two individual games at/over 10 YPC), and then remember this guy's coming off an ACL surgery... yeah, he's doing some pretty special things.
As far as the navy and orange go, however, this has been nothing short of a rough patch after their early season dominance, and now injuries are continuing to take their toll. Top interceptor Tim Jennings is out, Earl Bennett will miss, and so will Brian Urlacher. Michael Bush, Stephen Paea and Chris Spencer are all questionable. But the Bears expect to have Alshon Jeffery and Devin Hester back, along with the new Chris Williams, Gabe Carimi. And in a divisional matchup with a playoff berth continually on the line, the Bears need contributions from anyone able to give them.
Some gameday linkage for your pregame perusal...
The Cowboys lost one of their practice squad members in a drunk driving incident yesterday - linebacker Jerry Brown Jr. was killed in the crash, and defensive lineman Josh Brent was arrested on suspicion of intoxicated manslaughter. In 2009 Brent was sentenced to two years probation in Champaign County.
I'm sorry, Greg Schiano. One, comparing your new idea to the forward pass and denouncing naysayers as "traditionalists" isn't just stupid, it's asinine, and two, it still doesn't solve anything.
Under Lovie Smith, the "stretch" has never been Lovie's time. Look, I'm not a big fan of him citing the record whenever he can either, but if not for that 1-5 last year brought about by the absence of any quarterback able to throw the football until Josh McCown in Minnesota, his 15-17 "final quarter" record would be 14-12. Funny how things change in one season, right Potash? We can ask your colleague Adam Jahns, who was on the Blackhawks beat last year but shifted to the Bears because there's no hockey this year.
Shea McClellin's staying at defensive end? I'm sorry, we needed an article to tell us that a defensive end is remaining a defensive end because there's no damn way he can play middle linebacker? A few days ago from Jahns, but relinked for ridiculosity.
And ESPNChicago's Nuts and Bolts for this one.
Well, they're playing indoors, but outside of the comfy garbage bag of the Metrodome, it's 31 degrees with light snow and a misting fog.
The Spirit of Radio:
Hey, if you want a broadcast on the radio, Dial Global Sports has you covered. Also, yes, a Rush reference. If you want to make something of it, Kev already has first dibs on kicking my ass.
'Murrica! You're the big red blob in the northern part of the country, until you get to Montana. Oh, and some random spot in Arizona too.
If you're up north of the border, I'm sorry. And you're over here.
Chicago Bears: LB Brian Urlacher, WR Earl Bennett, CB Tim Jennings, QB Josh McCown, WR Dane Sanzenbacher, OL Chris Spencer, DT Stephen Paea
Minnesota Vikings: QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson, CB Brandon Burton, LB Audie Cole, OL Troy Kropog, OL Mark Asper, TE Allen Reisner, DE DeAundre Reed
This is the Pregame Open Thread. We'll have your quarterly threads at game time, with updated posts if anything big happens to break during the game. Enjoy yourselves, and Open Thread Responsibly (TM).