The Minnesota Vikings have arguably the best running back in the National Football League in MVP Adrian Peterson. Last year, he amassed 2,097 yards, eight short of Eric Dickerson’s record of 2,015. Keep in mind, Peterson had ACL surgery the previous offseason, so this was a superhuman effort. Although Dickerson was pleased AP did not break the record, I am almost positive Peterson is not happy even though he came really close. Therefore, he will play this entire season angry.
That being said, the Chicago Bears will have to be on top of their game if they want to prove doubters wrong and show that their defense can still pack a punch.
Chicago Bears’ blueprint to stop Peterson
Bears’ cornerback Charles Tillman said the best way for the Bears to quell the running back is by ‘population tackling’, which means everybody will need to be at or close to the point of attack if they want to stop him. When dealing with one of the league’s best running backs, positional assignments can not be forgotten nor taken for granted. Each player needs to know where they belong, and the Bears are smart enough to know that.
The Detroit Lions may have provided a blueprint for the Bears in their mission to slow Peterson. In their week one matchup with the Vikings, the Lions put eight in the box against Peterson. Before they did that, the running back broke off for a 78-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, and continued to gash the Lions in the first half with another touchdown.After they loaded the box in the second half, he only gained 15 yards.
The Vikings will likely continue to rely on the run game Sunday against the Bears, and the eight in the box strategy seems to be the way to stop it. I think this will provide for a highly entertaining game, in addition to an early NFC North matchup between two teams that have the talent to be in the thick of things near the end of the season.
Vikings’ head coach Leslie Frazier, who played for the Bears back in the eighties, said he is reminded of Walter Payton a lot when he sees Peterson out on the field. That is a hefty comparison, but it should not deter the Bears from their task at hand. They definitely have the talent to stop Peterson, and these guys on the defense for the Bears have the experience as well. They have seen him twice every season, and they are just as hungry now as they were in years past.
I’m not so naive as to think the Bears will prevent Peterson from entering the end zone, he will get in there once or twice. I believe if they can slow him down enough to where he does not have any breakaway runs, that will go a long way in proving to the doubters that if the Bears can slow last season’s MVP, they can hang with some of the best running back talent in the league.