By Joseph Gunther

The Minnesota Vikings had a week off to the prepare for the Chicago Bears. The Vikings now face the struggling Bears at Soldier Field. The Bears are coming off a blowout road loss to the Green Bay Packers.

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Bears Record

The Bears are last in the NFC North Division with a 3-6 record, including a three-game losing streak. They also have lost five of their last six and all three of their previous home games this season. They have lost to the Buffalo Bills, Packers and Miami Dolphins at Soldier Field. Their three wins this season have come against the San Francisco 49ers, New York Jets and Atlanta Falcons.

Bears on Offense

The Bears rank 12th in the league in passing and 25th in rushing per game. The achilles heel of the Bears offense is their offensive line. They allowed the Packers to record four sacks, eight total tackles for a loss and six quarterback hits. The unit has one opening day starter on injured reserve and missed time last week because of an injury.

There are plenty of weapons at the skill positions. The offensive line and quarterback Jay Cutler need to give them an opportunity to make plays.

Matt Forte is one of the best multi-dimensional running back in the league. The Vikings have done a good job of slowing him down, especially at Soldier Field. He averages 69.3 yards per game in six contests against the Vikings at home. Last season, he did his damage against the Vikings as a receiver with 10 catches for 73 yards.

The Bears have two big, dynamic wide receivers and a playmaking tight end. Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery and Martellus Bennett are all huge and athletic receiving options for Cutler.

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Bears on Defense

The Bears rank 28th in passing yards and 15th in rushing yards allowed per game. They brought in three new defensive linemen and drafted two in the first three rounds of the draft to improve their overall defense.

The result has been disappointing so far. Free agent signees Jared Allen, Lamarr Houston and Willie Young have combined for 76 tackles and 9.5 sacks. Young, the least heralded signing, leads the way with 33 tackles and 7.5 sacks.

Last week, the entire defense was terrible, but the secondary may have been the worst. There were blown coverages and a total lack of effort.

It is never a good thing when your defensive backs are your leading tackles, but the Bears have taken that a step further. Safety Ryan Mundy and cornerbacks Kyle Fuller and Tim Jennings are the top three, respectively, in total tackles. They are first, second and tied for fourth in combined tackles.

Outlook

Despite opening as 4.5 point underdogs, the Vikings should win the game. History is not on their side, but this is not the same Bears team that they have faced in the past. Last season, the Vikings lost on a last minute touchdown pass. This season should be a completely different result. The Bears appeared to check out early in last week’s loss and they had the previous week off. The Vikings have an opportunity to continue to turn their season around.

For more Vikings news and updates, visit Vikings Central.

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Joseph Gunther is an avid fan of Minnesota sports, including football, hockey and baseball. He covered a wide variety of sports while attending Hastings College in Hastings, Neb. While at Hastings College, he was a part of the first collegiate media group to broadcast a national tournament via television, radio, internet and newspaper at the 2004 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Tournament. He grew up in the Twin Cities playing three years of varsity football in high school. Joseph is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.