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Opponent breakdown: Vikings


After their bye week, the Bears (2-4) return to action on Sunday at Soldier Field when they take on the Minnesota Vikings (4-2). Here's a breakdown of Chicago's Week 8 opponent:

What's new: Rookie linebacker Eric Kendricks looks to be a star in the making for the Vikings. The second-round pick from UCLA leads the team with 32 tackles, including five for loss and four sacks. With strong instincts, Kendricks is a force against the run. After Minnesota's last two games, Kendricks has been nominated for NFL Rookie of the Week. Versus the Lions in Week 7, Kendricks had six tackles and two sacks in Minnesota's road victory.

What's old: After missing most of the 2014 season because of a suspension, running back Adrian Peterson has returned to the field and once again reminded people why he's one of the NFL's best. He's averaged more than 88 yards per game on the ground, including consecutive games earlier this season where he had more than 120 per game. Peterson has always ran well at Soldier Field, eclipsing 90 rushing yards in five of his seven career games there.

Last time out: Minnesota fell behind early on to Detroit, trailing 14-3 at the end of the first quarter. The Vikings then scored 25 of the next 28 points, pulling away for a 28-19 win over the Lions. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was terrific, throwing for 316 yards and two touchdowns while spreading the ball to 11 different receivers. Minnesota's defense really put pressure on the Detroit attack, as the Vikings sacked Matthew Stafford seven times.

Series history: The Bears and Vikings have been playing annually since 1961, with Minnesota holding a 55-51-2 all-time advantage. The teams split their two meetings in 2014, with both teams winning at home, a trend in this series. The home team has won 22 of the last 26 games between these teams, with Minnesota's last victory at Solider Field taking place in 2007.

Injury report: Minnesota is hurting up front, with injuries on both its offensive and defensive lines. Center John Sullivan was eligible to return off short-term injured reserve, but he re-injured his back and is not expected back on the field any time soon. On the other side of the ball, defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd missed the game in Detroit after undergoing knee surgery to remove cartilage. He is also dealing with a sore ankle and may not be ready to play against the Bears.

Schemes and tendencies: The Vikings are winning, but the team's offense is far from dominant. Minnesota averages just 325.5 yards per game, third-fewest in the NFL. And when the team gets close to the end zone, yards are even tougher to come by. The Vikings score touchdowns on just 42.11 percent of their trips inside the opponents' 20-yard line, one of the league's lowest averages.

Did you know: Quarterback Jay Cutler has thrown 136 touchdowns in a Bears uniform. With one more, he will tie Sid Luckman for the most in franchise history. Cutler has thrown touchdowns against 30 NFL teams (all but Denver and Baltimore), but he has torched nobody more often than he has Minnesota. In 11 career games versus the Vikings, Cutler's thrown 23 touchdowns to only 13 interceptions. Not surprisingly, Cutler's teams are 8-3 in those games.

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