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Cutler, Bears lead Vikings 16-0 after 1st quarter

- Associated Press - Sunday, October 16, 2011

CHICAGO (AP) - Devin Hester caught a 48-yard touchdown pass from Jay Cutler, Marion Barber scored on a 3-yard run, and the Chicago Bears led the Minnesota Vikings 16-0 after the first quarter on Sunday night.

After the Vikings went three and out on their first possession, Cutler connected with Roy Williams for 17 yards on Chicago's second play from scrimmage. On the next play, Cutler threw a strike to Hester for a 48-yard touchdown.

Bears punter Adam Podlesh pinned the Vikings on their 5 yard line, and two plays later Minnesota's Donovan McNabb was sacked in the end zone by Stephen Paea for a safety.

On the ensuing possession, Cutler found Williams for an 18-yard catch, and Matt Forte ran for 21 yards down the left sideline. Barber finished the 56-yard scoring drive with a 3-yard touchdown run that gave the Bears a 16-0 lead.

Bears defensive end Julius Peppers started despite being listed as doubtful on the injury report. Peppers sprained his left knee Monday during a loss at Detroit and didn't practice all week.

After winning the NFC North last season, the Bears (2-3) are trying to avoid falling into a last-place tie with the Vikings (1-4) in the four team division.

Minnesota cornerback Antoine Winfield was out for the second straight game because of a neck injury.

The Bears also shook up their defensive backfield after they gave up a series of big plays against Detroit. Safeties Major Wright and Chris Conte started over Chris Harris and Brandon Meriweather. Harris was inactive for the game.

The Vikings haven't had their share of big plays in the passing game. They rank 31st in the NFL in passing offense as McNabb struggles to connect with his receivers. Visanthe Shiancoe and Bernard Berrian each had drops in the first quarter against the Bears.

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