The Minnesota Vikings (7-6) defeated the Chicago Bears (8-5) by a final score of 21-14 at the Metrodome Sunday afternoon.
With the victory the Vikings put themselves right back in the thick of the playoff race in the NFC.
The Bears' loss combined with the Packers' victory dropped the Bears out of first place having lost four of their previous five games.
It was a game in which it looked like the Vikings were going to run away early, however the Bears fought back and made it a close game that was not decided until the fourth quarter.
1. Adrian Peterson should be an MVP candidate
Peterson has been on a tear all season in recovering from a torn ACL and MCL on Christmas Eve last season. With his 51-yard run on the first play of the game Peterson truly set the tone for the Vikings. All in all Peterson finished the game with 31 carries for 154 yards, and two touchdowns on the day.
It is very rare that a player is able to recover from the injury that Peterson suffered last season and come back to be one of the most dominant players at his position.
While Peterson should not be considered for the Comeback Player of the Year award as he played all but one game last season, he has to be considered for MVP. Peterson has a legitimate shot at 2,000 yards this season and if he can accomplish this feat he truly is the MVP.
2.The Bears' offensive line is as bad as ever
Once again Bears quarterback Jay Cutler could not finish a game due to the beating he was taking from defenders running free and looking to literally take his head off. This may be one of the worst games that this particularly bad Bears offensive line played all year long, and that is saying something.
Whenever it seemed the Bears could get something going offensively, you had Gabe Carimi false starting or the ever present J'Marcus Webb hold. Between quarterback Jay Cutler, wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, and running backs Matt Forte and Michael Bush,he Bears have a lot of weapons offensively.
The two things keeping this Bears offense from exploding is the lack of a true tight end, and an efficient offensive line. The offensive line is key to an offenses success, and as long as the Bears continue with this group of linemen they will go nowhere with four losses in five games becoming common place.
3. The Vikings' defense is quietly a solid group
No one seems to be talking about the biggest reason that the Vikings have a winning record (other then Adrian Peterson) and have gone from a bad football team to a very respectable team, their defense. While everyone knows about All-Pro defensive end Jared Allen, had you ever heard about linebacker Chad Greenway before his regrettable comments about drunk fans last week?
This Vikings defense is a solid unit that has kept their team in games all season long. The Chicago Bears' offense had struggles all day long because of the solid effort put forth by this Vikings defense.
Jay Cutler was under pressure all day long from the Vikings extremely talented front seven taking advantage of the very porous Bears' offensive line. If the Vikings can add a few pieces to their offense to combine with the solid core they have on defense the Vikings will be a force to be reckoned with for many years to come.
4. The Bears' defensive line has disappeared
Early in the season the Bears' defensive line was the key to their defensive success. However, as the season has progressed the Bears' defensive line has disappeared and looked like a very below average group. Defensive tackle Henry Melton was starting to look like the next big thing at defensive tackle through the first half of the season, however in this downward spiral the Bears have been on recently Melton has been nowhere to be found and he is not the only one.
Of all the players that were playing so well early in the season the only one who has continued to play well is defensive end Corey Wootton. Other than Wootton this Bears line has not put up the sack numbers like they did in the early part of the schedule.
Not only are they not getting sacks, but they are getting gashed in the run game as of late. Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and his 154 on the ground yesterday is just the latest example of how far this defensive line has fallen.
5. Coaching makes all the difference
The Vikings won this game hands down on somewhere other than the scoreboard...the sideline. Leslie Frazier and the entire Vikings coaching staff did a tremendous job calling the game. Lovie Smith and his much more experienced coaching staff failed the Bears Sunday afternoon.
Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier knew the Bears would be vulnerable in the run game without star linebacker Brian Urlacher in the game. So Frazier did the smart thing and gave the Bears a healthy dose of Peterson early and often.
Bears head coach Lovie Smith not only got torched running the ball, but refused to run the ball despite Matt Forte averaging 6.5 yards per carry. It is adjustments that win or lose you a football game, and on this game Frazier continued to adjust and adapt to what the Bears where throwing at him.
Whereas Lovie Smith stubbornly stuck to his same game plan and did not seem to make any adjustments to put his team in a position to win this football game.