The Minnesota Vikings defense has been in the middle of the pack statistically. They are ranked 13th best in the league, giving up 340 yards of total offense per game and just two sacks away from being tied with the Bears for fifth most in the league.
For years the defensive has started up front for the Vikings and 2012 has been no different. Jared Allen had a spectacular 2011 season in which he sacked the quarterback 22 times on his way to his first NFC Defensive Player of the Year award and through their first 10 games this season, he has gotten to the quarterback seven times.
Allen has a relentless motor and can beat you with his bull rush or a spin move. Bears tackle J’Marcus Webb knows firsthand about his abilities, having given up 3.5 sacks to Allen in their Week 17 matchup last season.
Brian Robison lines up opposite of Allen, and not the same time of pass rusher, he does have 5.5 sacks on the year and will give right tackle Gabe Carimi a handful.
The interior of the line is not as vaunted as it was in years past, but Kevin Williams is still a difficult matchup for offensive lineman, and will be giving center Roberto Garza and new starting left guard Chris Spencer fits all afternoon. Letroy Guion is expected to return from a turf toe injury and reclaim his spot as the starter next to Williams. Guion is quick off the ball and is more of a pass rusher than run blocker and the Bears would be wise to try and run Matt Forte in his direction.
Outside linebacker Chad Greenway continues to be a menace in the second level for the Vikings, having led the NFL in tackles heading into their bye week. He is great at getting to the ball carrier and working his way through traffic to make a tackle and his coverage skills have improved this season. The Bears will need their fullback or one of their offensive lineman to make it to the second level to try and slow his path to the ball carrier.
Both inside linebacker Jasper Brinkley and outside linebacker Erin Henderson are not flashy, but they get the job done. Brinkley has struggled a bit in pass coverage and the Bears could try and match him up against a running back or tight end Kellen Davis to take advantage of his struggles.
Often undervalued veteran cornerback, Antoine Winfield, is having yet another Pro Bowl caliber season in Minnesota. He will likely draw Brandon Marshall for the majority of the game due to an injury to Chris Cook that has forced the unproven A.J. Jefferson into the starting lineup.
Rookie safety Harrison Smith has had his ups and downs at the free safety position but much like Chris Conte last season, the Vikings essentially ask him to not get beat deep. He has been solid against the run but can be vulnerable in the passing game. Both Mistral Raymond and Jamarca Sanford have seen time at the strong safety position and much like Smith, but have been solid against the run but can be vulnerable in the passing game.
Matt Eurich is a contributor to Bearsbacker.com. Follow Bears Backer on Facebook and Twitter for up to the minute news about the Bears. Also, check out Matt’s work on BleacherReport.com and follow him on Twitter @MattEurich.