Found September 13, 2013 on
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The Minnesota Vikings (0-1) come to Soldier Field on Sunday looking to upset the Chicago Bears and avoid two straight losses to open the 2013 NFL season.
The Bears needed the Vikings to lose to the Green Bay Packers in Week 17 of the 2012 season to have a chance at the playoffs. Both, the Bears and Vikings finished with 10-6 records, but the Vikings held the head-to-head edge over Chicago.
It should be a very intense game filled with plenty of action on both sides of the ball. The running game will be the emphasis for the Vikings' offense, while the Bears' offense will look to sustain drives with a solid mix of pass and run.
The Bears' defense can take over games by forcing a number of turnovers, while the Vikings' defense has looked solid at times over the past couple of seasons.
Here are five players you should pay attention to on Sunday:
The fourth-year pro from Northwestern made the most of his 2012 campaign producing seven sacks in seven starts. He added two tackles in Week One against the Bengals. He needs to improve if he wants to be the starter opposite Julius Peppers. Third defensive end Shea McClellin made four tackles and the only sack of the season opener. Wootton will be asked to make big plays and help this Bears' defense contain Adrian Peterson. Look for Wootton to have a big game on Sunday.
The second-year man looked very solid opposite Brandon Marshall last week. He reeled in five catches for 42 yards. He should be in line for a bigger stat line with defenses keying in on Marshall. Look for the 6'3" Jeffery to have a solid outing. He could easily wind up scoring a touchdown when and if the Bears get in the redzone. He still has to plenty to prove and Sunday is a perfect time for him to showcase his skills.
After spending last season on the Bears' practice squad, Frey has worked his way onto the active roster. Kelvin Hayden was lost for the season, so Frey had a chance to prove his worth. The second-year Nevada product made four tackles in his debut last week. He didn't see as many snaps as starting nickelback Zack Bowman, but when Charles Tillman went to the sideline to rest Frey filled in and the defense didn't miss a beat. He deserves more chances on the field. If so, look for big things from him.
The 29-year old Towson product has started all 16 games the past three seasons. He finally gives the Bears a legitimate option at left tackle. With offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Aaron Kromer coming over with from New Orleans, Bushrod has what it takes to keep this entire unit in check since the familiarity is there. He should be steady all season long. He will be asked to block Vikings defensive end Jared Allen. The task won't be easy, but Bushrod should be able to shut him down. It will certainly be fun to watch.
The third-year Oregon State product racked up seven tackles and contributed on the Shea McClellin sack last week. He started 14 games in 2012, making 24 tackles and 2.5 sacks. He was the most consistent lineman for the Bears last Sunday and he should be once again with offensive lines focusing on taking Pro Bowlers Henry Melton and Julius Peppers out of games. Paea should be able to continue his solid play this Sunday against Minnesota.
Jake Perper is the founder and head writer of Bearsbacker.com. Follow him on Twitter, @Bearsbacker and on Facebook for up to the minute news about the Chicago Bears.
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