A LOT more of this please! via prod.images.vikings.clubs.nflcdn.com
For week one, I'm going to go ahead and give myself a 4-1 record for the impact players I chose. Reggie Bush tore us apart, while Jared Allen, Cordarelle Patterson, and Kyle Rudolph made minimal noise, leading to a Vikings loss. Ryan Broyles didn't suit up and even though Nate Burleson was effective, I'm not going to give myself credit for that.
This week, I think we can learn a lot from week 1, as we are facing similar offensive personnel. Here are my five impact players for week two. As always, I believe that their impact will determine the outcome, for better or for worse.
Matt Forte - Forte has an ample skill set that definitely includes the ability to beat defenses in the same manner that Reggie Bush killed us last week. On top of that, Forte is a better between the tackle runner, and so his success will force the defense to respect the run. In order to excel in this game, the goal again is to force Chicago to be one-dimensional. That means stopping Forte's runs and shutting down screen passes quickly.
Erin Henderson - It's now or never for Erin. He is on the verge of making Vikings fans clamor for Jasper Brinkley. Henderson's job will be three-fold. His primary concern needs to be shutting down the aforementioned Forte. Secondly, I would really like to see some command of the defensive unit, and better play-recognition after the snap. Finally, the Bears have big targets. It will be up to Henderson to minimize their success in the middle of the field. For a great example of all three improvements, watch this play. Bush's TD was actually a middle screen. Greenway reacts and tries to make a play but can't. Henderson has no idea what's happening until Bush is almost past him.
Adrian Peterson - If the Vikings mean to win this game, their going to have to use their main horse. A great running back on the road always helps. We'll need Peterson to consistently move chains, demoralize the defense, and silence the crowd. I expect Peterson to see a lot more carries. I also expect less shotgun and more Rhett Ellison. The fact of the matter is we might need 200+ from All Day in order to win this game.
Christian Ponder - Peterson's runs will come with heavy resistance, as always. Enter the Man of Steele, who should probably be in this segment every week. I've been hinting at it all week: Ponder's role here is game manager. He needs to eliminate turnovers and convert third downs. Doing so will keep our offense on the field, which will tire their defense, and give Peterson a chance to break them. Long drives also rest our defense. I'm not looking for deep passes, or for him to evade pressure. Just consistent, mistake-free play please. Greg Jennings, Cordarrelle Patterson, and Kyle Rudolph all have your back Christian. Use them!
Charles Tillman - I really hope that Tillman can be held in check, as the guy could easily take over this game. The Bears have a swarming, opportunistic secondary. Peanut's ballhawking ways will eat up Ponder, so really just stay away from him. With Jerome Simpson being our downfield threat, it's a scary match up. We have seen two Simpson deflections lead to INTs in the last month, and Tillman did the same thing to AJ Green just last week. In fact, both of Tillman's picks last week remind me of Ponder's INTs last week. Tillman will make plays. It's just a matter of how many, and how big they are.