Black and Blue all over: Peterson and his fumbles
The last time Minnesota tailback Adrian Peterson visited Soldier Field, he blew up for 224 yards and three touchdowns. In his return Sunday, however, an entirely different dynamic will be at play.
Peterson enters this game with a case of fumble-itis. He lost a pair of fumbles in last Sunday's 12-10 victory over Detroit and has already matched his 2007 season total by losing three this season. The only NFL tailback with more is Cincinnati's Chris Perry with five.
The Bears, of course, are one of the league's best teams at stripping the ball and their five forced fumbles in 2008 ties them for sixth in the NFL.
Speaking this week to Minnesota reporters, Peterson said he has been "careless" with the ball and knows the Bears will test him to see if he is paying more attention.
"Sometimes you kind of hit yourself upside the head, realize that you need to stop being careless with the ball," Peterson said, according to Kelsie Smith of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "It was kind of like a little wakeup call."
Overall, Peterson has three 100-yard games this season and ranks third in the NFL with 563 yards.
Continuing around the NFC North this morning:
- Bears linebacker Lance Briggs isn't sure what the Bears did to slow down Peterson in the teams' 2007 rematch at the Metrodome, other than to play disciplined defense. In that game, Peterson managed 78 yards on 20 carries. Mike Mulligan of the Chicago Sun-Times has details.
- The Vikings' two leading receivers are both ex-Bears, as John Mullin of the Chicago Tribune points out. Bobby Wade and Bernard Berrian have combined for 47 receptions.
- One of the first people to recruit linebacker Napoleon Harris to Minnesota was E.J. Henderson, who replaced Harris as the team's middle linebacker after the 2006 season but will miss the rest of this season because of two dislocated toes. Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune recounts the story.
- Green Bay safety Atari Bigby hasn't had any setbacks in his return this week from a hamstring injury, and the Packers haven't given up hope that he could play in some capacity Sunday against Indianapolis. Tom Pelissero of the Green Bay Press-Gazette lays out the scenario.
- Packers linebacker Brandon Chillar, the team's only free-agent pickup during the offseason, has cultivated a role as a matchup player against opposing tight ends. Greg A. Bedard of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel spells out Chillar's unique contributions.
- Detroit defensive coordinator Joe Barry said he considers the team's defensive performance at the Metrodome last Sunday to be a "standard" for the way it should play the rest of the season. But as Dave Birkett of the Oakland Press points out, not all players agree. Safety Dwight Smith: "You get caught up being 0-4, 0-5, you look for any ray of light. But I don't live that way. We definitely can build from that game, but by no means do I feel like that should be the standard. That should be the floor. That should be the lowest we can play, what we played last week."
- Lions first-round draft pick Gosder Cherilus on getting benched this week, according to Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com: "I don't know that for sure, but the one thing I know is that I went out there and gave it my best and played very, very hard. I don't have anything to be ashamed about."