The Free Press, Mankato, MN


September 15, 2013

Vikings set to battle Bears on Sunday

Forte looking to make some noise, too

Marc Trestman’s debut as an NFL head coach was such a success that the Chicago Bears want to do it all over again.

They’ll have to stop MVP Adrian Peterson to do it.

The Bears host Peterson and the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, hoping to build on a season-opening win in which they showed plenty of promise. Chicago got enough big plays down the stretch from Jay Cutler to wipe out an 11-point deficit and beat Cincinnati 24-21. The rebuilt offensive line held its ground against a tough defensive front and did not allow a sack.

Cutler seemed comfortable in Trestman’s offense, particularly after the Bears opened it up in the second half.

“That was really the goal to start the season, if we could keep him clean early and give him a sense that he could be confident throwing the football that eventually we’d be able to open it up, and we talked about that at halftime,” Trestman said. “We didn’t talk about making radical changes and throwing every down or anything like that. But we talked about our sense that the young guys were holding up and they were doing well and Geno Atkins wasn’t a factor.”

Now, they’ll be staring at Jared Allen. And the defense will be trying to catch Peterson.

Chicago’s defense that led the league with 44 takeaways last season showed it still has that knack, forcing three turnovers. One thing missing was pressure on the quarterback.

Here are five things to watch for in Vikings-Bears:

BUILDING BLOCKS: After mostly holding their ground against Atkins and the Bengals, the Bears’ blockers face another test against Allen. All he’s done is collect 13 sacks in 10 games against Chicago, with a 3½-sack domination in 2011? The Bears have four new starters on the line: left tackle Jermon Bushrod, left guard Matt Slauson, and rookies Kyle Long at right guard and Jordan Mills at right tackle.

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