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Recent posts by Eric Edholm
Here's a look at a key matchup heading into Sunday's Week 10 battle between the Vikings and Bears:
Bears DE Julius Peppers vs. Vikings OLT Bryant McKinnie
McKinnie struggled to handle Peppers last season when the Vikings played late in the year at Carolina. And though it's apples and oranges as far as scheme, circumstance and the like, the fact that Peppers so overwhelmed McKinnie in that game could give the Vikings second thoughts about how they choose to block on Sunday.
QB Brett Favre, coming off his best game of the season and the highest passing yardage total of his career, knows he has to get good protection against one of the best pass rushers in the game.
"You (have) got to be able to pull the trigger on a slant route," Favre said. "You got to be able to drop back five steps and not be looking over your shoulder at the protection.
"No doubt, Bryant had a tough game last year. At this point, you could point to any one of us and say, 'this guy has struggled, that guy has struggled, more so than last year.' Bryant would probably be the first to tell you he could protect a little bit better."
Peppers has not made the noise in the sack department he typically has, with only two sacks to this point of the season. But he has 12 QB pressures and has opened things up on the other side for Israel Idonije, who has five sacks and two forced fumbles, and been strong in the run game.
McKinnie, for the most part, has had a good season. But he's coming off his worst game, allowing countless pressures and five hits on Favre. The pass protection from the backs left something to be desired, but McKinnie was turnstiled by Cardinals OLB Joey Porter more than once.
Handling Peppers always has been tough for McKinnie, but this will be a serious test. Especially with Peppers wanting to show he still can finish off sacks.