Bears facing a more dangerous Vikings 'O' by being less AP-centric


Bears facing a more dangerous Vikings 'O' by being less AP-centric

“Adrian.” “Peterson.”

Two words that for a long time have visited true fear upon Chicago football. Not necessarily so anymore. But that is not necessarily good news, not by any means.

The Minnesota Vikings running back exploded on the Bears for 224 rushing yards, 128 return yards and three touchdowns as a rookie back in 2007. The last time the Bears saw Peterson, on Dec. 1, 2013, Peterson put 211 yards on the Bears in a 23-20 Minnesota win.

But that was then. And the NFL of “now” is not exactly the same one that he left one week into the 2014 season due to circumstances surrounding a case of child-abuse allegations. The NFL game is changing, nowhere more evident than in Minnesota.

[MORE BEARS: Vikings RB Adrian Peterson will tough it out to eat shrimp]

In his absence the Vikings have moved away from an AP-centered offense under coordinator Norv Turner and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, the second of their two No. 1 picks in the 2014 draft. The spread offense of so many colleges has become a bigger part of the NFL game, including in Minnesota. Peterson is lining up more often without a blocking fullback than was his custom for so many years and results have begun to be questioned.

On 29 of his 45 carries over the past two weeks, Peterson was stopped for 2 or fewer yards, according to Michael Rand of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Peterson carried 19 times against Detroit and was held to 2 or fewer yards 14 times.

“It’s a big difference, but I knew that coming back,” Peterson said. “I knew it last year before week one with coach Turner, what he presents. I’ve been adjusting to it.”

But the bigger change may lie within Peterson, no longer the dominant back of his prime but also not demanding to be.

[MORE BEARS: Bears problems at wide receiver producing 'better' Jay Cutler]

“My philosophy is whatever,” he said. “They brought coach Turner in for a reason because he has a great mind, he has a great scheme. Of course, he wants to lead the team to a championship as well. My whole approach is to do my job, so whatever they ask of me, just try to do it to the best of my ability. If that’s sacrificing, then I’m willing to do that.

“I’m all about trying to win a championship. If that’s getting 3 or 4 yards and keeping the chains moving, finishing with 80 yards and Teddy finishes with 300 [passing] yards and we win, I’m satisfied with that because I’m trying to get a ring.”

But here is the considerably bigger problem now: It does not seem to matter whether an opponent stops Peterson. The Vikings are still winning.

Peterson ran for 134 and 126 yards in Minnesota wins against Detroit and San Diego in Weeks 2 and 3. Then the Kansas City Chiefs held Peterson to 60 rushing yards and 2.3 yards per carry, and lost. The Lions kept him under 100 yards (98), and lost.

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The Vikings have won four of their last five games. The only loss came at Denver, not because the Broncos shut down Peterson, but because they sacked Bridgewater seven times.

The overall, which has seen the Vikings have eight No. 1 picks over the past four years, has allowed the Vikings to tilt away from being AP-centric.

“I think Mike [Zimmer, coach] and their organization have done a good job,” said coach John Fox. “They’re a young football team, good young talent. It’s a team game.

“I know Adrian is a great player and we recognize his accomplishments and what he’s done. But they’re playing good ball in all three phases. They’ve won some close games, they get turnovers in defense. This is the ultimate team game and they play good team football.”

Mike Trout says Browns will win more games than Bears in 2018

Mike Trout says Browns will win more games than Bears in 2018

Los Angeles Angels superstar Mike Trout is quickly becoming an icon in American sports. The two-time American League MVP is enjoying another dominant season batting .335 with 23 home runs and 48 RBI.

On Tuesday, he took a swing at what Bears fans may consider a shocking NFL prediction.

“I’ve got the Browns having a better record than the Bears,” Trout told a radio reporter, according to the Los Angeles Times. Trout's comments were made in response the reporter "talking up" Chicago.

Both the Browns and Bears have had productive offseasons that involved headline-grabbing acquisitions on offense. Cleveland drafted QB Baker Mayfield with the No. 1 overall pick, traded for WR Jarvis Landry, signed RB Carlos Hyde and drafted a backfield mate for him in Georgia's Nick Chubb. They added potential lockdown corner Denzel Ward with the fourth overall pick, too. Add all that to a motivated Josh Gordon ready to contribute for a full season, and there's good reason to be excited in Cleveland.

Still, it's hard imagining Trout can be that confident in a team that's won only one game over the last two seasons. And let's not forget what GM Ryan Pace has done this offseason, one that's been praised by analysts from all corners of the NFL universe. From new coach Matt Nagy to free-agent WR Allen Robinson and all the skill players in between, the Bears are ready to make a legitimate run in the NFC North.

Trout doesn't strike out much in the major leagues, but this prediction feels like it could be a back-straining whiff.

Is Matt Forte pushing for a coaching job with the Bears?

Is Matt Forte pushing for a coaching job with the Bears?

Is former Bears star Matt Forte going to be the team’s new running backs coach?

For now, that’s Charles London’s job, who was hired to head coach Matt Nagy’s staff earlier this year.

But on Tuesday night, Forte tweeted that he would like a coaching spot with Chicago sometime in the near future.

Serving as evidence, the now-retired running back responded to a tweet from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, which announced the Broncos’ hiring of former linebacker Demarcus Ware as a “pass-rush consultant on a part-time basis.” Forte tweeted at the Bears, saying that he is “available” to take on a similar role to Ware’s new Denver gig.

Forte’s tweet was relatively cryptic, and he never specified exactly what type of job he would want with the Bears. After finishing up a storied career this past season and solidifying his name as a Bears legend, Forte has proven that he could easily coach young running backs or even wide receivers at some point.

But isn’t this all just a joke?

Forte silenced the doubters by tweeting “I wasn’t joking” as a response to an article saying that his desire for a new occupation with the Bears was simply a gag. The former workhorse was also intrigued by a fan’s tweet asking “Coach Forte??”

The mere thought of having Forte back in Chicago with the Bears’ coaching staff sent fans on Twitter into a frenzy. In April, Forte came back to Halas Hall to ink his name on a one-day contract, successfully allowing him to retire as a Bear. Now, Forte wants a lengthier stay in the Windy City.

Ware’s role with Denver is not extensive by any means and, according to Schefter, he will work a pretty scattered schedule with Broncos players. What Forte’s role would look like with the Bears is completely unknown if his plan to coach becomes a reality.

Forte has the running back credentials to take on a coaching position. In eight seasons with the Bears, Forte racked up a combined 8,602 rushing yards, second to only the great Walter Payton. Forte’s 4,116 receiving yards as a running back, 12,718 yards from scrimmage, 24 games with 100 rushing yards and 25 games with at least 150 yards from scrimmage also ranks second behind Payton.

Maybe this will be a new development in Chicago’s offseason plans, but there is no real talk of bringing one of the team’s all-time leading rushers back to the team as of right now.

Last month, NBC Sports Chicago announced Forte will be joining the network as a Bears game day studio analyst for the upcoming 2018 NFL season. And we're not joking about that.