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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Bears Jordan Howard a rare RB who has had success against the Vikings

By Matthew Coller

The Minnesota Vikings got quite the introduction to running back Jordan Howard on Halloween night 2016.

On the Chicago Bears’ first drive, Howard blew through Mike Zimmer’s defense for a 69-yard rush. He finished the game with 153 yards on the ground on 26 carries and one touchdown. Howard also tacked on a 34-yard reception.

In the Vikings and Bears’ first matchup this year, Howard wasn’t quite as good, but he still totaled 76 yards on 19 rushes. So in two games versus Minnesota, the 2016 fifth-rounder is averaging 5.4 yards per rush – a difficult feat against a defense which currently ranks No. 2 in rushing yards against.

“It’s almost like he has a different gear to get to the perimeter,” Zimmer said Wednesday. “He gets to the perimeter well. But he can also put his foot in the ground and cut back. When he makes contact with you it’s an extra two or three yards usually.”

Howard’s numbers are slightly down from his rookie campaign, but he’s still gained 1,113 yards on 267 carries (4.2 YPA) and has scored nine touchdowns. Last season he gained 1,313 yards at 5.2 per carry. Still the second-year back has posted five 100-yard games this year.

“He’s been a great back,” Zimmer said. “When you watch him, his time speed is not his play speed. He plays a lot faster than his time speed. I like his physicality. For a big guy, they don’t usually bounce to the perimeter. Their offensive line I think does a great job. They do a great job of turning things over to the next level. I think that helps him. But when he gets a crease, he can hit it and get down field.”

Howard isn’t alone in the backfield. Rookie Tarik Cohen has picked up a total of 701 yards from scrimmage, about half of which have come through the air. The shifty scat back has 47 receptions for 344 yards.

Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has also found running back Benny Cunningham as a receiver out of the backfield completing 19-of-22 passes in Cunningham’s direction at 12.3 yards per completion.

Trubisky is also willing to run. He’s added 246 yards on the ground, which Zimmer said can be a challenge when he escapes the pocket.

“He’s very athletic,” Zimmer said. “He does a great job when scrambling. Comes out in a lot of different places. Some quarterbacks come out the same way every time, he doesn’t do that. He may spin to his left and come back out to his right. It’s another thing that we have to defend and it’s a pain in the rear end.”

The post Bears Jordan Howard a rare RB who has had success against the Vikings appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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