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The Vikings' Latest Must-Win Game



Date: 14 November 2010 Location: Chicago, IL
Time: 12:00 PM Central Stadium: Soldier Field
DirecTV Ch. 709
Know Thy Enemy: Windy City Gridiron
Gonzo's Prediction: Vikings 20, Bears 17
Final Score: Bears 27, Vikings 13

Apologies for getting the Game Thread here up a little later than we've become accustomed to.This whole "being under the weather" thing really sucks when you have stuff to take care of.

So, what are the keys to today's game?

1) For the love of God, somebody block Julius Peppers, please? - We all remember what happened last year in the Vikings' game against Carolina. . .Julius Peppers single-handedly destroyed the Vikings' offensive line, never allowing the Vikings' offense to get going, and the result was an ugly, ugly loss to the Panthers. The Vikings can't allow that to happen today, and if that means helping out on Peppers with a tight end or a back on every play, that's what needs to be done. Bryant McKinnie claims that he "feels better" this year than he did when he faced off with Peppers last season, but. . .yeah, I'll believe it when I see it. Peppers, like our own Jared Allen, doesn't have big numbers in the sack column this season. . .but, like Allen, he is capable of single-handedly taking over a football game, and the Vikings need to make sure that doesn't happen today.

2) Carry over from the end of the Arizona game - We all saw in the second part of the fourth quarter and overtime against the Cardinals that the Vikings' defense exploded into the kind of defense we had been expecting to see all season long. One would think that they could keep this kind of thing up against the Bears because. . .well, quite frankly, because the Bears' offensive line is awful. The Bears have allowed the most sacks in the National Football League to this point in the season, and their running backs are averaging less than four yards a carry. If the Vikings have the kind of ability in the front seven that we all think they have, they will put together a dominant performance against a Bears' offensive line that absolutely shouldn't be able to block them.

3) Avoid mistakes - Once again, we hit the obvious one. As Eric pointed out in his column yesterday, one of these two teams is +1 in turnover ratio, while the other is -9. The one that's +1 is 5-3. . .the one that's -9 is 3-5. If the Vikings and the Bears both play mistake-free football, the Vikings should come out on top. . .and the Vikings can ensure that they come out on top by forcing the Bears into more mistakes than they make.

She's going to be a windy, cold one in Chicago this afternoon, folks. . .temperatures in the low 40s and winds in the 15 MPH range will affect both teams. I would think that that means we're going to see a huge dose of Adrian Peterson today in the hopes that he can keep up his success against the Bears. . .but, then again, with our current coaching staff running things, I wouldn't be surprised if he got five carries this afternoon, either.

This is a big one, ladies and gentlemen. . .if the Vikings can pull off the next two, they'll get themselves back to .500 and have a 3-1 record within the division. If they can't. . .well, they're pretty much done. Of course, we've said they're "pretty much done" a few times this year already, and still, here we are, thinking that we're not. Hopefully, in a few hours, we can start thinking about how great it's going to be to get back to .500 at home next week.