Five Bears to Watch: Week 8 vs. the Minnesota Vikings

Five Bears to Watch: Week 8 vs. the Minnesota Vikings
The Bears host first place Minnesota to town on Monday night. Here are the five players to watch, from top to bottom: QB Jay Cutler, LB Leonard Floyd, WR Alshon Jeffery, LB Jerrell Freeman, RB Jeremy Langford.

The Minnesota Vikings come to town on Halloween, fresh off its first loss of the season at 5-1.

The Bears are on the opposite side of the spectrum at 1-6, but some key players return and anything can happen on Monday Night Football.

Injuries continue to be an issue for the Bears with 12 players listed on Friday’s injury report.

Cornerback Bryce Callahan (hamstring), defensive tackle Eddie Goldman (ankle), cornerback Deiondre’ Hall (ankle), guard Kyle Long (tricep), wide receiver Eddie Royal (toe) and linebacker Danny Trevathan all sat out the session.

Running back Jeremy Langford (ankle), linebacker Pernell McPhee (knee), wide receiver Cameron Meredith (shoulder), cornerback Tracy Porter (knee) and guard Josh Sitton (ankle) were limited while linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski returned to full participation.

Langford looks to be back in the mix after missing the past four games. Sitton could return to action which would be a huge boost to this offensive line that used Eric Kush at left guard and Ted Larsen at right guard for most of last Thursday due to Kyle Long’s arm injury.

Here are five players donning the orange and blue that you should watch on Monday night.

QB Jay Cutler

The highly criticized quarterback returns to his starting role this week after Brian Hoyer suffered a broken arm against Green Bay last Thursday night. It seems like perfect time for Jay Cutler’s right thumb to heal up, but of course it could have been another reason why this worked out this way. Regardless, No. 6 is back under center.

So far this season, Cutler has completed 28 of 46 pass attempts for 373 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions before suffering a thumb injury in a Week 2 loss to Philadelphia. He also lost a fumble while being sacked eight times. For what it is worth, Cutler is averaging 8.1 yards per attempt. He owns an 8-5 record against Minnesota with 26 TD’s, 14 INT’s and a 91.8 QB rating. However, he’s lost his last three starts against them.

LB Leonard Floyd

The Bears were waiting for this type of game and so was Leonard Floyd. The team’s top pick in this year’s draft came up with two sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery for a touchdown. He had the team’s lone score in the game and first defensive touchdown in over two years.

Floyd missed the three previous games due to injury and has had a hard time staying healthy. However, put him across from Willie Young or Pernell McPhee and boy does the Bears’ pass rush look that much improved. It’s a process with Floyd as he continues to put it all together. He’s starting to show glimpses of what type of player he can be.

WR Alshon Jeffery

The fifth-year veteran has 319 yards on 23 catches over the past five weeks with Brian Hoyer under center. In the first two games with Cutler as the quarterback, he caught nine passes for 201 yards.

Still without a touchdown, Alshon Jeffery wants to find the endzone. Minnesota has been awfully tough all over the defense, but in his career, Jeffery has fared well against them. He is averaging 5.6 catches and 87.4 yards per game in seven meetings against rival Minnesota. That includes six touchdowns. Don’t ever count out Jeffery.

LB Jerrell Freeman

The Bears’ leading tackler has been everything and more for this defense with 65 tackles and a pass breakup. He doesn’t have a turnover just yet though and the Bears can use a couple of those.

Slowing down tight end Kyle Rudolph and running back Matt Asiata will be Freeman’s main task. The hope is a turnover comes for the veteran linebacker in this big rivalry game.

RB Jeremy Langford

After starting the first three games of the season, it appears as if Jeremy Langford won’t be the starter once he returns on Monday. However, he should factor into the rotation alongside Jordan Howard and Ka’Deem Carey.

Ideally, the Bears want to use all three in games and that will help the offense trick opposing defenses. Howard is a tough nosed runner while Carey is a bulldozer and Langford is that finesse type of back. Using the three-headed attack should help Cutler and the offense. Finding a rhythm will be key for all three guys especially Langford who has the most to prove.

Who will you be watching on Monday night?

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