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What'd They Say: Bears Prepping for Vikings Team 'Doing Well' in Run Game

The Vikings and Bears are preparing this week for a division matchup that will pit Minnesota's rushing attack against a stout Chicago defense.

As Team Reporter Eric Smith wrote for Vikings.com Wednesday, one side will eventually give out.

Vikings running back Dalvin Cook currently ranks first in the NFL with 375 rushing yards and 6.6 yards per carry. The Bears defense, on the other hand, has allowed just 68.7 rushing yards per game through three contests.

Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy was asked about Minnesota's run game and Cook specifically during his press conference with Chicago media members earlier this week.

Nagy pointed out that Minnesota is persistent with the run and commits to that aspect of the game regardless of situation.

"And they're good at it," Nagy said. "[Cook is] a guy that fits that mold – that zone-type runner that can see the vision of being able to hit the wide zone, the inside zone, and then cut it back. If you're pursuit's not there, you're in trouble. He's got speed, he can do things out of the backfield with his hands. They're using him really well.

"They have some nice packages, and their offensive line is playing well, too," Nagy continued. "They're blocking a lot of different fronts, and they're penetrating the other side of the line of scrimmage, and there's no penetration on your side of the line of scrimmage. They're doing well with the run game."

Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan last season totaled five tackles, including three for loss, in two games against the Vikings.

The 29-year-old spoke to media members this week and said the Vikings have been "running hard" after struggling on the ground in 2018.

"They try to bully people and try to go ahead and get the ground [game] going, try to not rely too much on passing sometimes, but they have that in their back pocket," Trevathan said. "We know here, we take pride in run defense. … Come here, and you have your best foot forward, just like we're going to have ours.

"They do what they do. On certain teams, it works well," Trevathan added. "But they haven't faced us yet."

Minnesota and Chicago each enter Sunday's afternoon game at Soldier Field with a 2-1 record.

Nagy emphasized the significance of the matchup and acknowledged that the Bears have lost their past two home games, including a Wild Card playoff game and the season opener against Green Bay.

"This is a division game, at home, against a pretty good defense and an offense right now that's tops in the league at running the football," Nagy said. "This will be good to see how this goes here with, you know, 'You better come ready to buckle your chin strap' type deal."

Look back at photos over the course of time featuring games between the Vikings and the Bears.

Here are other highlights from Nagy's discussion of the Vikings this week:

On Minnesota's use of play-action:

"Well, it makes you stop the run. If you can't stop the run against teams that run the ball, you have no shot. When you sell out and you try to stop the run, they're good enough coaches to know they're going to get you with the play-pass. Their offensive coaches all have experience, and then obviously with Kevin Stefanski coming up through the ranks and working hard to get where he's at, they're playing really well. I mean, they're playing good football right now – it's complementary, it matches up with their defense that gets a lot of stops, and we're going to have our hands full."

On what he's learned about the Vikings defense:

"That they're really good. They're physical as hell, they get after you, they have a great scheme [under Head Coach Mike] Zimmer. I've gotta believe that it's the most consecutive starts with players on a defense, consistently having that group of guys, and that's a credit to what they've done there. They play fast, they play physical, they play confident, and when they get you in third downs, you better have a good plan."

On Danielle Hunter:

"He's a guy that really has a full deck of cards. He can beat you with speed, he pursues relentlessly, he can beat you with power if he needs to. I've been watching him over the years and you see him [develop] – there's more and more things to his game. He's growing. You have to know where he is at all times. He's definitely one of the top rushing defensive players in this league, for sure."

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