The numbers might indicate otherwise, but Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler hasn’t forgotten about Earl Bennett.

Cutler understands his former college teammate’s value, even if Cutler seems solely focused on Brandon Marshall. And Cutler knows he might have to rely on Bennett more heavily Sunday against the league’s third-best pass defense.

“He has to play well,” Cutler said of Bennett. “He’s got to step up and make some plays.”

Cutler has good reason to have higher expectations of Bennett this week. The Seattle Seahawks have a pair of tall cornerbacks capable of contending with Marshall in 6-foot-4 Brandon Browner on the left side and 6-3 Richard Sherman on the right. Although the 6-4 Marshall welcomed the challenge, having constant success against the tandem might be tough.

With rookie Alshon Jeffery recovering from knee surgery and Devin Hester ruled out with a mild concussion, Bennett has to be Cutler’s second option.

“The thing for me is just to do my job,” Bennett said. “When the opportunities come, I have to take advantage of them.” 

VIKINGS: Minnesota ruled receiver Percy Harvin out of the game Sunday at Green Bay because of a sprained left ankle.