The Vikings Need to Respect the Bears


Dec 12, 2021; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports.

It’d be easy to overlook the Bears. Minnesota is coming off a great win in Week 4, one that put them at 3-1 for the year. Many Vikings fans have been (prematurely) pencilling in their favorite team for a 4-1 record since Chicago is next on the schedule. That’s a misguided thing to do. The Vikings need to respect the Bears.

Indeed, we need to play the actual game, folks.

On paper, the Vikings have a far better team, but that doesn’t mean the Bears shouldn’t garner respect. True, Justin Fields has had a rough start to the year, but let’s not forget that he was chosen 11th overall in 2021. I don’t expect him to put up great statistics – his best game in 2022 has featured 11 completions and 174 passing yards; he hasn’t thrown a TD pass since Week 1 – but the worst thing Minnesota could do is overlook him. That’s how a team gets beat.

Last year, the winless Lions took on the Vikings. An unnecessarily close game came down to a final play, one where Amon-Ra St. Brown caught a TD pass from Jared Goff. Minnesota’s playoff chances took a significant hit and the Lions snagged their first win.

If they play to their potential, Minnesota won’t have too many issues overcoming their Illinois rival. Fields has been sacked 11 times over these past two games. The Vikings have the pass rushers to get after the young QB early and often. Za’Darius Smith and Danielle Hunter are the two names that most readily come to mind, but we ought not overlook the big man in the middle. Dalvin Tomlinson – who is listed as being 6’3, 325 – currently has the 5th-best pass rush score among DTs on PFF.

Meanwhile, the offense will have plenty of things to accomplish on their end of things.

Kirk Cousins hasn’t been great so far this season. In fact, there’s a pretty decent case to be made that he’s been merely average even though he’s bringing in a 2022 cap hit that suggests he will be elite. Playing the Bears can hopefully be an opportunity for #8 to get back on track.

He’ll once again be looking to connect with Justin Jefferson early and often. Jaylon Johnson is unlikely to play, but Chicago’s defense also boasts Roquan Smith, Robert Quinn, and Eddie Jackson, meaning Kevin O’Connell’s group will need to be sharp.

I’ll also be keeping an eye on the run game. Being able to pick up some good yardage on the ground will make life considerably easier for the team as a whole.

The Vikings and their fans would be unwise to overlook the Bears, a failure of respect that could plausibly precede defeat. Chicago’s defense comes into the game at 12th in points allowed and at a respectable 2-2. Expect a close game, especially in the opening quarter or two.

If Minnesota takes care of business, then they should pull ahead as the game drags on. They’ll need to earn the comfortable win, though.

Questions Answered: Vikings Injury Report, Getting Danielle Hunter Right, Khyiris Tonga


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