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Vikings-Bears matchup of the day: Saturday

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Dan Parr

dparr@pfwmedia.com
Associate editor

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Posted Oct. 15, 2011 @ 5:23 p.m. ET
By Dan Parr

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

Vikings RB Adrian Peterson vs. Bears' run defense

Chicago's problems on defense are not limited to struggles vs. the run, but that potential weakness could be exposed again on Sunday.

The Panthers and Lions assaulted the Bears' run defense in the past two games. Those two teams combined to rush for 350 yards vs. Chicago and averaged 7.6 yards per carry. We saw Lions RB Jahvid Best tear through the defense without even getting touched at times Monday night, and Peterson, a tackle-breaking force, will make the Bears pay if they don't correct those errors.

The Bears made some changes on defense during the week, partly out of necessity — DE Julius Peppers and DT Matt Toeaina both suffered knee sprains vs. the Lions. Toeaina has already been ruled out and Peppers is listed as doubtful for Sunday night's game. The safety position has been a problem for the Bears since Week Two and they will be starting second-year veteran Major Wright and rookie Chris Conte at safety Sunday after benching Chris Harris and Brandon Meriweather.

With some pieces being shuffled on the defensive line and young players getting an opportunity on the back end, the Bears really needs their linebackers to step up and have a better game than they did last week.

The Bears will be hoping to stop Peterson before he gets to the last level of their defense, but will Conte or Wright be able to get the job done if it's up to one of them to take him down in the open field? Wright has had trouble making those kinds of plays at times, and Minnesota has to like its chances in that situation.

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