Vikings-Bears matchup of the day: Thursday

Posted Oct. 13, 2011 @ 4:05 p.m.
Posted By Dan Parr

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

Vikings' run defense vs. Bears RB Matt Forté

The Bears' offensive line has done a much better job of getting a push at the line of scrimmage since Week Three, when Forté was held to two yards rushing on nine carries against a stout Green Bay defense. He has had more than 20 carries in each of the past two games and he has gained 6.8 yards per carry in those games, rushing for 321 yards on 47 carries.

If the Vikings' front seven keeps stuffing the run as well as they have in recent weeks, Forté's production could dip.

Minnesota has been very effective in stopping the likes of Arizona's Beanie Wells, Kansas City's Thomas Jones and Detroit's Jahvid Best in the past three weeks. None of those backs are of Forté's caliber, but the Vikings' run "D" has been stifling, allowing only 2.8 yards per carry since DT Kevin Williams returned from a suspension in Week Three. They didn't allow a run longer than nine yards last week and have not given up a rush longer than 12 yards since Week Two.

The Vikings' linebacker corps is very solid and rangy, tough SLB Chad Greenway is arguably the team's top defender.

Forté doesn't have elite speed, but he's quick to find a hole and burst through it. The Bears have had a lot of success running off-tackle and trap plays over the past two weeks, and he's really the heart of Chicago's offense.

If Minnesota limits him, the Bears will face frequent 3rd-and-long situations and that's not a position the team thrives in.

Follow Dan Parr on Twitter