Vikings-Bears matchup of the day: Wednesday

Posted Dec. 28, 2011 @ 6:30 p.m.
Posted By Eric Edholm

Here is anothe rkey matchup to consider for Sunday's Vikings-Bears game in Minnesota:

Bears RB Kahlil Bell vs. Vikings front seven

Bell has been increasingly impressive the past few games, gashing the Packers for 121 yards on 23 carries, including several in which he broke tackles to gain additional yardage. He's not especially fleet of foot, nor does he have a bevy of fancy moves in the open field. But Bell runs hard, has good size and can carry the load. He also is a surprisingly solid receiver, gaining 7.5 yards per catch this season.

One negative: Bell put two balls on the ground against the Packers (though neither was lost), which is something he can't do if he wants to be Matt Forté's backup next season. And that's what this is: an exhibition to show he can have an expanded role if he is re-signed. He will be a restricted free agent following this season.

He should get the bulk of the carries against a Vikings front seven that made the Saints look like an excellent running team and allowed Redskins RB Evan Royster (who has spent most of the season on the practice squad until recently) to run for 132 yards on only 19 carries in Week 16.

E.J. Henderson is solid against the run, and Chad Greenway has a nose for the ball. But both players have made too many tackles that have come six, seven and eight yards downfield this season. WLB Erin Henderson had a bad game Saturday, especially on a 28-yard run by Royster in which Henderson was out of position. The line also hasn't been great vs. the run, especially inside.