The Minnesota Vikings (8-5) are one game back in the NFC North and currently lead in the wild-card race as they host the division-rival Chicago Bears (5-8) on Sunday at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
Minnesota had a game-tying field-goal opportunity in their grasp in Week 14, but a strip sack of Teddy Bridgewater ultimately resulted in an Arizona win, 23-20. It was one of three Vikings turnovers, the first time they’ve committed all season. Minnesota has now lost three of four and needs a bounce-back week to remain in advantageous playoff position.
The last time the Bears and Vikings met, Minnesota overcame a fourth-quarter deficit to win 23-20 in Chicago on Nov.1. Adrian Peterson rumbled for 103 yards on 20 carries and Blair Walsh kicked a game-winning field goal as time expired.
The key for Minnesota could be Peterson going over 100 yards rushing as he’s done six times this season, all Vikings victories. Peterson ran for 69 yards and a touchdown in Week 14 but has totaled just 87 yards on the ground the past two weeks. Peterson, the league’s leading rusher heading into Week 15, has compiled 1,251 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on the season. Chicago allows 4.7 yards per carry to rank No. 30 in the NFL.
The Bears are coming off back-to-back home losses and currently have the relevance of their season on life support. Kicker Robbie Gould missed a 50-yarder to tie the game last week against Washington and missed from 36 yards in the waning moments of regulation the week before.
Chicago outgained their opponent in each of those games but have little to show for it. Jay Cutler completed 19 of 31 passes for 315 yards and two touchdowns in Week 14, bringing his total to 16 passing scores and seven interceptions. Running back Matt Forte has 176 all-purpose yards and two scores in the last two weeks, his second and third games back from a knee injury that sidelined him most of November.
The Bears offense, which ranks No. 17 in yards per game (350.2), faces a banged-up Minnesota defense that could be without several starters such as safety Harrison Smith, linebacker Anthony Barr and possibly nose tackle Linval Joseph and defensive end Emerson Griffin. Without four starters last week, Minnesota allowed 393 yards of offense to Arizona.
The Bears have won three straight road games and the Vikings have lost their last two home games. A victory for the Vikings keeps them at least in their wild-card spot and could possibly tie them in the NFC North with a Packers loss.
TV Channel: FOX
Start Time: 1:00 p.m.