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Associated Press, Published November 25 2012

Vikings start slow in loss to Bears

CHICAGO – Adrian Peterson was late arriving to the stadium. By the time he settled in, this game was out of reach.

Peterson got off to a slow start, and the Minnesota Vikings got blown away in the first half on the way to a 28-10 loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday.

“I was (surprised),” Peterson said. “We had a great week of practice. We just came out and couldn’t get anything going. We’ve just got to shake it off and move forward.”

Jay Cutler was on target from the start, throwing for 188 yards and a touchdown after missing a game with a concussion, to lead the Bears to a rather lopsided win even though they lost some key players to injuries.

Devin Hester left the game with a concussion. Matt Forte and Charles Tillman exited with ankle injuries, and for good measure, both starting guards went down.

All those injuries tempered some of the good feelings this win created for the Bears.

The Vikings, meanwhile, were left shaking their heads after losing for the third time in four games.

“Very disappointing game,” Minnesota coach Leslie Frazier said. “We did not execute the way we needed to on the road to win against a good football team.”

Tied with Green Bay for the NFC North lead and just a game ahead of Minnesota (6-5) coming in, the Bears

(8-3) grabbed a 25-3 halftime lead with Cutler connecting on just about every pass. The defense held Peterson in check early on, although he did finish with 108 yards rushing.

Chicago also came away with three more takeaways to increase its total from a league-leading 30 entering the game to 33.

The rather easy win came after back-to-back losses to Houston and San Francisco that left many questioning how good this team really is.

But it also came with a heavy price.

The Bears lost Devin Hester, a receiver and a record-setting return specialist, early to a concussion. And that was just the start.

Matt Forte, their top running back, hobbled to the tunnel midway through the third quarter with an ankle injury. Coach Lovie Smith said star cornerback Charles Tillman also hurt his ankle.

On defense, Henry Melton set the tone by sacking Christian Ponder on the first play from scrimmage. Nick Roach set up the first touchdown by knocking the ball out of Peterson’s hands. Chris Conte set another TD with a 35-yard interception return, and Julius Peppers blocked a field goal.

The league’s leading rusher, Peterson tied Robert Smith’s club record with a 100-yard performance for the fifth straight game even though he managed just 25 in the first half. He also lost two fumbles and had to catch a cab to the stadium and arrived about 90 minutes before kickoff, according to reports.

Ponder wasn’t much help, going 22 of 43 with 159 yards and a touchdown along with an interception. His favorite target, Percy Harvin, sat out his second straight game with a sprained left ankle.

“We knew what we were getting into,” Peterson said. “They wanted to make a statement. I thought it was more so what we did, giving the ball away, not making routine plays. Can’t wait to see them again.”

Minnesota 3 0 7 0 – 10

Chicago 10 15 3 0 – 28

First Quarter

Min – FG Walsh 40, 12:17.

Chi – Bush 1 run (Gould kick), 7:17.

Chi – FG Gould 47, :32.

Second Quarter

Chi – Bush 1 run (Podlesh run), 4:01.

Chi – Spaeth 13 pass from Cutler (Gould kick), 1:48.

Third Quarter

Min – Rudolph 2 pass from Ponder (Walsh kick), 10:44.

Chi – FG Gould 46, 3:57.

A – 62,306.

Min Chi

First downs 15 23

Total Net Yards 258 296

Rushes-yards 20-114 39-113

Passing 144 183

Punt Returns 1-0 1-6

Kickoff Returns 3-67 3-65

Interceptions Ret. 1-31 1-35

Comp-Att-Int 22-43-1 23-31-1

Sacked-Yards Lost 2-15 1-5

Punts 4-40.5 4-43.3

Fumbles-Lost 2-2 1-1

Penalties-Yards 3-44 5-55

Time of Possession 22:30 37:30

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: Minnesota, Peterson 18-108, Ponder 2-6. Chicago, Bush 21-60, Forte 14-42, Cutler 3-9, Allen 1-2.

PASSING: Minnesota, Ponder 22-43-1-159. Chicago, Cutler 23-31-1-188.

RECEIVING: Minnesota, Wright 7-49, Peterson 6-30, Rudolph 5-55, Jenkins 2-17, Carlson 1-7, Simpson 1-1. Chicago, Marshall 12-92, Bennett 4-45, Forte 2-4, Davis 1-15, Spaeth 1-13, Rodriguez 1-11, Weems 1-9, Bush 1-(minus 1).

MISSED FIELD GOALS: Minnesota, Walsh 30 (BK). Chicago, Gould 39 (BK).