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Vikings Roundup, 12/26: Vikings Prep for Two Threats of Forte

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Vikings defenders know the importance of limiting runs and catches by Bears running back Matt Forte.

Forte has rushed 249 times for 987 yards and leads Chicago with 94 receptions for 785 yards for a combined career high of 1,772 yards from scrimmage (third most in the NFL this season behind DeMarco Murray and Le'Veon Bell).

"Forte leads the team in receptions, which you don't see from running backs, so he can do it all," safety Harrison Smith said.

Forte had 26 carries for 117 yards and six catches for 58 yards on six targets when the teams played earlier this season. Forte said he's taken "the utmost pride" in being a complete running back. 

"That's what I've been working at since college and high school, to be a dual-threat or all-around running back where you can catch the ball, catch screens, catch downfield passes and also run the ball and be able to pick up blitzes and recognize those looks on defense," Forte said. "It's being complete as a player because you can never be perfect, so you always have something to practice and work on."

Minnesota (6-9) hosts Chicago (5-10) at TCF Bank Stadium at noon (CT) Sunday in the regular season finale for both teams.

"He's a heck of a back, and we've got to do a great job with him," Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said.

Forte can become the third back in NFL history with 100 receptions with six more catches and is within reach of the record. Arizona fullback Larry Centers had 101 receptions in 1995, and running back LaDainian Tomlinson had 100 in 2003 in his third season in San Diego.

"It would be something special because only a couple guys have done it, but at the same time, I'm more looking to get a win than personal goals," Forte said. "I'm not that selfish type of player where you're looking at personal goals. I'm the type of guy, when you play hard and are executing your plays out there, all that stuff comes along with it. You don't have to focus on it or worry about it."

Bears coach Marc Trestman said the team is focused more on winning and losing than Forte's proximity to the record.

"The stats aren't really relevant with a record like we have," Trestman said. "Matt's a tremendous football player. He's as consistent a player and professional guy as we have on the team. He's the same guy every day and as hard a working guy as we have on our team."

WARM WELCOME TO COLDER TEMPS FOR JOSEY: Henry Josey began the week on the Jaguars practice squad in sunny Jacksonville, but was signed to Minnesota's 53-man roster Wednesday.

"It was a blessing, especially on Christmas," Josey said. "The change in weather has probably been the biggest thing. It's going well. I'm happy to be here. I've been welcomed with open arms so that's the main thing, and now it's just learning another offense again."

The rookie had 1,166 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns in 2013 at Missouri before signing with Philadelphia as an undrafted free agent. He spent all of the regular season on Jacksonville's practice squad and said he wants to learn as much as possible as quick as he can.

"It's getting close to the offseason, so you want to make sure you learn as much as you can now and take that with you, so when you come back, you're not starting all over again," Josey said. "The main thing is to be prepared."

LB DEPTH TESTED: Veteran linebacker Chad Greenway didn't practice this week, and rookies Anthony Barr and Brandon Watts have been ruled out. Greenway endured the death of his father last weekend, but played against Miami, when he suffered a knee injury that sidelined him. Barr hasn't played since suffering a knee injury Nov. 30 against Carolina.

"I'll let Coach Zimmer decide what we're going to do," Greenway said. "We'll see where I'm at and make a decision based off that."

Zimmer said Greenway "probably could have practiced (Friday), but we didn't want to aggravate it more. We'll just see how it goes."

**Click here** for the full injury report for both teams.

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