Quarterback Play Will Decide This Weekend's Vikings-Bears Game

Tom FroemmingCorrespondent IOctober 16, 2008

While they've been carrying their respective offenses for much of the season, it's going to be tough for Minnesota's Adrian Peterson or Chicago's Matt Forte to dominate this week.

Peterson has had his issues with inconsistency and fumbles, but ranks third in the NFL with 563 rushing yards. Last year, the man they call All Day tore up the Bears defense for a rookie record 224 yards (he would break that record just three weeks later) and three touchdowns at Soldier Field.

Purple Jesus was "held" to 78 yards and two TDs in his second game against the Bears, with his yards per attempt dropping from 11.2 in the first game to 3.9 in the second. Chicago knows what this guy can do, and I'd expect the Bears to put eight or nine guys in the box in running situations.

Forte, who is making a strong case to follow Peterson as the Offensive Rookie of the Year, is fifth in the league with 459 yards rushing, and has another 206 receiving yards. Facing the stout Vikings run defense, however the Tulane product is likely going to have a hard time finding room to run.

Both the Vikings and the Bears rank in the top five in run defense, so look for quarterbacks Gus Frerotte and Kyle Orton to be the keys to victory. Both players have been better than anyone would have expected, but they're going have to be especially efficient on Sunday afternoon.

Whichever signal caller does a better job of limiting turnovers and converting third downs will lift their team to victory. With both squads sitting at .500 and heading into their bye weeks, this could end up being a huge swing game for both teams. This game isn't getting a ton of media attention, but it could end up shaping the NFC North.