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Herrera remembers Soldier Field fondly
Anthony Herrera (Aaron M. Sprecher/Getty)
Posted Oct 14, 2011
For most Vikings, Soldier Field has been a tough environment. For Anthony Herrera, it presented him with a full-time starting opportunity on one of Adrian Peterson’s biggest rushing days.
For most players, heading into venerable Soldier Field is something they don’t look forward to. The Bears are a different team when they’re in front of their home fans and nobody refers to Soldier Field as the “friendly confines.”
But for one Viking, Soldier Field is a place filled with fond memories.
In 2007, the Vikings were four games into what would become a 6-10 season and coming out of their bye week. New coach Brad Childress decided change was needed. He pulled
from the starting lineup and inserted backup
. In his first start at Soldier Field,
ran for 224 yards and the rest was history.
“That was a good day,” Herrera said. “At the time all I was looking for was an opportunity. I got it and took advantage of it. This game is all about opportunity and making the most of it when it presents itself.”
Not only would his debut against the Bears coincide with Peterson setting a franchise record for rushing yards, three weeks later, Peterson would set the all-time NFL rushing record with 296 yards vs. San Diego. Herrera has started every game he has played since then. What started as an experiment at Soldier Field became a permanent switch. Herrera said he hasn’t forgotten the struggle to get to the starting lineup, but said it has been his motivation ever since.
“I remember having to wait and earn my spot,” Herrera said. “I’ve worked harder than ever since then because I remember how hungry I was to get in to the starting lineup and know that there are guys who are gunning for my job. I have to keep playing at a high level or they may get their opportunity and take advantage like I did when my number got called.”
What started in Chicago four years ago today has remained a fixture of the Vikings offense – Herrera manning the right guard position when healthy – and if he has it his way, it will be four years or more before someone else plays the position.
The last time the Vikings and Bears played it was a 40-14 blowout win for Chicago on a cold, blustery, snow-swept field. But it wasn’t in Chicago. It was at TCF Bank Stadium last December following the collapse of the Metrodome roof. While technically a home game, everyone admits it was definitely Bears weather.
The Bears will reportedly bench both of their starting safeties – Chris Harris and Brandon Meriweather – in favor of Major Wright and rookie Chris Conte.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for
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