For Bears' Forte, it's always team first

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Bears running back Matt Forte needs 8 catches in Sunday's finale at Minnesota to set the NFL record for most receptions by a running back in a season.

    Bears running back Matt Forte needs 8 catches in Sunday's finale at Minnesota to set the NFL record for most receptions by a running back in a season. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 12/27/2014 7:43 PM

Matt Forte can surpass some historic NFL milestones in Sunday's season finale, including most single-season receptions by a running back.

Forte needs 8 catches at Minnesota to eclipse the record of 101 by the Arizona Cardinals' Larry Centers in 1995.

 

Forte, who has 94 receptions and 987 rushing yards, also can become just the second player in league history with 100 catches and 1,000 rushing yards, joining LaDainian Tomlinson, who caught 100 passes and rushed for 1,645 yards in 2003.

Coach Marc Trestman said the Bears' game plan will not change.

"Oftentimes there are those types of things on the table," Trestman said. "But the primary focus is to do what we have to do on each and every play to win the game, and those things will usually take care of themselves."

If they do, that's fine with Forte. If not, that's OK, too.

"It's important, but not the most important thing to me," Forte said of the reception record. "It's probably one of the least important to me.

"I'm not going to go out looking to get 8 catches. I'm really just going out there to run the ball, catch the ball, block and do what I've got to do for us to be successful on offense and help us win the game."

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Despite his impressive numbers, Forte was not voted to his third Pro Bowl this season, which didn't seem to bother him.

"The running backs that were picked, they're really good, too," Forte said. I've been twice, so I'm not really too crazy about not being picked. I'm not a big stats guy. I go to work every day and then let everything else take care of itself.

"I'm a teamwork guy. I like to see everybody succeed. I do think Martellus (Bennett) should have made it. I like to point out the other guys."

Among tight ends, Bennett is tied for first with 82 catches and third with 857 yards.

Coming of age:

In this season's first Bears-Vikings meeting on Nov. 16, Minnesota quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was playing like a rookie. Since then he has looked like the Vikings' long-range answer at the position and someone the team can build around for a long time.

"I think Bridgewater's doing a better job of taking care of the football," Bears coach Marc Trestman said. "He seems to be growing."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

That's an understatement. In the five games since he posted a 76.2 passer rating against the Bears, Bridgewater has three games with passer ratings over 110.0 and has completed more than 70 percent of his passes in four of them.

As a result, the Vikings have scored 30 points or more in three of their last four games.

"Offensively, it starts with the quarterback," Trestman said. "They've done a good job of managing the run game and are starting to play a little bit better, taking care of the football."

We're No. 1:

The Bears are the best 1 in the NFL … at kickoff coverage. They've allowed just 18.0 yards per attempt.

"They've played fast, (and) they've had good fits," said special-teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis. "We've had very manageable kicks to cover for the most part. (But) we have a heck of a challenge this week. Everybody knows about 84."

The Vikings' No. 84 is 6-foot-2, 216-pound Cordarrelle Patterson, who was all-pro in 2013 as a rookie when he averaged a league-best 32.4 yards on kickoff returns, including one of 109 yards.

In last year's second meeting, Patterson scored on a 33-yard run. In the first meeting he had a 105-yard kickoff-return TD.

"We've always got to be aware of what's going on in special teams with Cordarrelle Patterson," Bears coach Marc Trestman said. "Anytime he's out there, he's a threat to go the distance -- not only as an offensive player, but on special teams."

The Vikings also have an elite punt returner in Marcus Sherels, who's seventh in the league with a 10.2-yard average.

"It's not going to get any easier this week, for sure," DeCamillis said. "They've got a heck of a group. It's going to be very easy for (us) to focus, for sure."

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