The Vikings head in to week 17 to take on a team much like the team they faced in the previous week. The Chicago Bears come in with nothing to play for other than to spoil their division foes’ first-round bye hopes. To avoid that, the Vikings will need to accomplish the following keys:
To come away from this game with a healthy roster is if Minnesota can score early and often. Again, the Bears have nothing to play for so if Minnesota can get up early, their will to play will take a hit.
To accomplish this, the Vikings offense needs to come out strong. The defense is a virtual lock to play well against the inexperienced Mitch Trubisky. But the offense needs to come together and do what they can to score on this stout Bears defense. They rank eighth in pass defense and ninth in run defense, so Minnesota will need to mix up the play calling. There is not weak point on this Chicago defense, especially since they are completely healthy. Look for Jerick McKinnon to have a key role in the game on screen plays and runs that are not in Latavius Murray‘s north-and-south running arsenal.
Bears’ Banged Up O-Line
As if Minnesota needed any extra help on defense, the Bears offensive line is heading into this week with four linemen on the injury report; T Bobby Massie (knee, doubtful), G Josh Sitton (ankle, doubtful), T Tom Compton (probable), and T Bradley Sowell (probable).
With all these injuries, the Bears are going to have a hard time protecting their quarterback as well as creating lanes for their running backs. Defensively, Minnesota should be able to get the best of the Chicago offense with relative ease on Sunday.
Like last week, a major key to the game is not a key that will necessarily help the Vikings win. But it is arguably the most important key for them in the long run.
With Minnesota being in a prime position for a first round bye in the playoffs, it is of utmost importance to head into the postseason as healthy as possible. Nick Easton is the newest addition to the Vikings IR. The Minnesota Moving Company can not afford to lose any more of their members. The Vikings need to get out to an early lead and mix in some depth players in Sunday’s game. Then they can rest up in the first round and get ready for their playoff run.
With the Bears injuries on the offensive line facing arguably the best defense in the NFL, Minnesota should hold Chicago most of the game. On the offensive side, the Vikings match up fairly well against the Bears defense. But I expect them to be able to get the job done on Sunday.
Vikings 24, Bears 6