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Vikings-Bears matchup of the day: Wednesday

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Dan Parr

dparr@pfwmedia.com
Associate editor

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By Dan Parr

Here's a look at a key matchup heading into Sunday's battle between the Vikings and Bears.

Vikings WR Percy Harvin vs. Bears' defense

With Donovan McNabb struggling to get the Vikings' passing game out of its funk, it's expected that Minnesota will test the Bears' reeling run defense early in the game Sunday. Adrian Peterson is good enough to keep the chains moving even if the Bears focus on taking him away and put extra defenders in the box, but connecting with an electric threat like Harvin on go routes will keep the Bears honest and could open up holes for Peterson.

Harvin lines up mostly in the slot. The Bears' cover-2 is designed to keep players like him from picking up yardage in big chunks, but Chicago's execution in coverage in recent weeks has been poor.

Harvin's longest catch this season is only 22 yards. The emerging deep threat for Minnesota, coincidentally, is former Bears WR Devin Aromashodu, who had a 34-yard TD catch in Week Four and a 60-yard catch in Week Five. However, Harvin is very capable of leaving safeties Chris Harris and Brandon Meriweather in the dust if they take bad angles to the ball and get caught out of position, which has happened frequently this season.

The Bears should be very well aware of what Harvin can do — he burned the Bears last season for a 53-yard touchdown catch (from Brett Favre) at Soldier Field in Week 10.

The Bears will need to be aware of where Harvin is lining up at all times. The Vikings also will give him the ball on reverses and he'll line up in the backfield at times, too. He has 13 carries this season and is gaining 11.8 yards per rush.

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