Vikings Win Third Straight, Defeat Bears 19-13
The Minnesota Vikings defeated the Chicago Bears 19-13 to win their third straight and take sole possession of third place in the NFC North. Dalvin Cook, who rushed for 30 times and 96 yards, wasn't his dominant self, but the passing attack by Kirk Cousins was just enough to lead the Vikings to a victory. Not only was this victory big for the Vikings, but it was also huge for Cousins, as he finally won his first Monday Night Football game and now posts a 1-9 record on Monday Night Primetime. Cousins would go on to finish the game with 292 passing yards and two touchdowns. Hopefully getting his first career MNF win, could be a confident booster for Cousins in big game situations.
This was a very typical Vikings vs. Bears game and only had two offensive touchdowns to show for it. Both of those went the way of the Vikings and both to Adam Thielen. Thielen would finish with four receptions for 43 yards. However, it was the Vikings first round pick, Justin Jefferson, who lit it up in his MNF debut. Jefferson would go on to haul in eight catches on 10 targets for 135. Jefferson is now seventh in the NFL with 762 receiving yards and ranks fourth in the NFL with an average of 18.1 yards per catch. At this point in the season, Jefferson is undoubtedly in the top three for Offensive Rookie of the Year.
For the Bears, they couldn't get anything going on offense, and besides their two field goals that were kicked in by Cairo Santos, only had one Special Teams touchdown to show for it. Former Viking Cordarrelle Patterson took Dan Bailey's second half kickoff 104 yards to the house as the only touchdown of the game for the Bears. Nick Foles was never able to get in a groove, only throwing for 106 yards on 15 completions. Foles also through an interception to Harrison Smith and started the second half with four consecutive three and outs. Foles not only couldn't get pass a depleted Vikings secondary, but the Bears couldn't even get the ground game going, rushing for only 41 yards on 17 carries.
Although the Vikings rank in both the top 10 in offenses and defenses, there is one thing that is really taking a major hit, and that is their special teams play, which ranks 30th in the NFL. It came to a point yesterday that the Vikings were squib kicking it just so the return man, Cordarrelle Patterson, didn't have a chance to run it back. They have had issues with their long snapper, Austin Cutting, and their blocking on punts. Luckily for the Vikings, they were able to overcome their very poor special team play and come away with a victory for the first time in over two years at Soldier Field.
The Vikings road to the playoff continues this weekend as they host the Dallas Cowboys and shoot for their fourth straight win and to get their record back to .500. This is a huge game for Minnesota, and against one of the worst defensives in football, should be a walk in the park for the Vikings. The Bears, who are now 5-5 and hold a half game lead over the Vikings in the NFC North, will get a much-needed bye week after dropping their four last games.
It could be a reality that the Vikings have sole possession of second place by this time next week and could very well sneak into the playoffs as a Wild Card team.