(CBS) Not surprisingly, running back Matt Forte will have to play a vital role Sunday if the Bears (2-4) are going to beat the improved Vikings (4-2) at Soldier Field, according to radio analyst Tom Thayer.
“You have to keep him on the field and running the ball,”Thayer told WBBM Newsradio’s Josh Liss. “That way, you’re going to be able to tire out their defense and keep Adrian Peterson off of the field.”
The Vikings are an impressive 4-2 under second-year coach Mike Zimmer, whom Thayer credited for giving the team “a lot of personality,” especially on defense, which is Zimmer’s specialty.
That defense will present a big challenge for the Bears, especially up front.
“They’re super aggressive on the defensive line, and they flow very well laterally, both from the safety position, and the corners,” Thayer said. “So, if you’re running the ball, you have to make a north-south decision. And then if you’re going to throw the ball, Jay Cutler needs protection from his offensive line. They were able to get to Matthew Stafford last week and really take it to that quarterback, so you’re going to have to have a full game plan, but it’s going to be making sure you try to keep Minnesota off balance in their defensive attack.”
On the other side of the ball, Peterson is still a strong and fast runner who’s a threat to break off a 75- or 80-yard run at anytime, despite missing all but one game last season to a suspension.
As for second-year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, Thayer said the key is keeping him inside the pocket, because he’s such a threat on the run.
“He doesn’t have the experience of a guy that’s been around for five to 10 years, but he still has a lot of youthful enthusiasm,” Thayer said. “He has great athleticism in his legs, and he has some receivers that know how to get into the open if they see him in a scrambling mode.”
You can hear Thayer’s full interview, including which Bear he might dress up as for Halloween, below: