EAGAN, Minn. (KMSP) - Sunday's showdown between the Vikings and Bears features two of the best defenses in the NFL.
These two teams pride themselves on playing tough defense and think that's what fans are going to see come Sunday. Chicago’s Khalil Mack may be the best defender in the game and the Vikings say if they want to win, it'll come down to containing the Bears’ all-pro defensive end.
"Obviously, if you look at his frame and things like that, just a very physical and dominant player,” said Latavius Murray, of the Vikings.
The Bears’ defense is filled with talented playmakers but Mack is in a class of his own.
He leads his team in sacks and forced fumbles and if the Vikings offense is going to have any chance at success this Sunday it all starts with trying to contain number 52.
"You got to respect him. You fear nobody but you respect them and that's the type of guy he is, you got to respect him and that's with their defense, you got to respect them because they're leading in a lot of categories around the league,” said Dalvin Cook.
With Mack leading the charge, the Bears’ defense is currently ranked third in the NFL in total defense, but members of the Vikings offense will tell you that getting to practice against the likes of Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter is the best way to prepare for a guy like Mack.
"I’m practicing against two of the best defensive ends in football every day,” said Kyle Rudolph. “I'm practicing against some of the best linebackers in football every day and, going against Harrison on the back end, the best safety in football so no matter what level you look at it on our defense, right down the middle of the field is some of the best players at every position."
This Sunday it won't just be Mack versus the Vikings offense, though. Minnesota is well aware that there are still ten other players that need to be accounted for but make no mistake, slowing down the Bears’ defense begins and ends with slowing down their all-pro.
With first place in the NFC North on the line, the Vikings say they're up for the challenge.
"We know how talented of a football player he is. That was a very, very good defense last year. I don't think they got enough credit for how talented they were being a top ten defense last year only winning four games and then you add a Khalil Mack and a Roquan Smith to an already good defense so we'll have our work cut out for us,” Rudolph added.
The Bears are ranked third in total defense in the NFL, but the Vikings are currently ranked fourth. So, while the Bears no doubt have a great defense, the Vikings do as well. If the game comes down to which offense can make enough plays, the Vikings could have the edge.
If the Vikings win, they'll find themselves in first place in the NFC North.