Football

Minnesota Vikings Take On Bears In Monday Night Showdown

3 Keys To Victory Against The Bears

Minnesota Vikings
ELIZABETH FLORES, STAR TRIBUNE

After a close win against the Steelers on Thursday night football, the Vikings need to continue to succeed if they want to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Minnesota Vikings have the chance to do that on Monday Night, against the Bears in Chicago. Minnesota currently sits just outside the playoff picture, in the 8th spot. A loss in Chicago would destroy the Vikings’ playoff hopes, leaving them with only an 11% chance to make the playoffs. How can the Minnesota Vikings ensure that they win on Monday Night Football? Here are they keys to victory for the Vikings.

Let Dalvin Cook

I personally questioned Dalvin Cooks’ quick return from injury in a previous article. Suffice to say, Dalvin Cook made me eat my own words in his most explosive game of the 2021 season. Against the Steelers, Cook ran for 205 yards and 2 touchdowns. He proved that he is still one of the best running backs in the league and can still tear up a defense. Going up against a struggling Bears’ defense, the Minnesota Vikings should look to use the same game plan they used against the Steelers.

It’s no secret that the Bears defense isn’t what it used to be. The Chicago defense is currently allowing an average of 120 run yards a game. They’re also allowing an average of 24.9 points per game. After a period of some extended time off, it would be nice to see Dalvin Cook have another dominant game. He definitely has the potential to, against a weak Bears’ defense. Weather may also be a factor in determining how much the Vikings use Cook. Playing a December game at Soldier Field will most likely require the Vikings to use Cook often.

Defensive Leaders Need To Step Up

This is becoming a similar theme this season for the Vikings. This current Vikings’ defense is consistently awful. They’re allowing an average of 381.5 yards per game. Jared Goff looked the best he has since 2018 against the Vikings. In the fourth quarter, Ben Roethlisberger looked vintage. This Vikings defense is consistently giving up big plays and not making key stops. Even the weakest offenses in the league have been able to keep up with the Vikings this year.

The difference between the Lions and the Steelers game is what happened on the final play. In the Lions’ game, the Minnesota Vikings defense was unable to stop Detroit. In the Steelers’ game, Harrison Smith stepped up to knock the ball out of Pat Freiermuth’s hand in the end zone. There are still plenty of big names on this defense. Anthony Barr, Eric Kendricks, Harrison Smith, and Michael Pierce have all had big individual plays. However, no defensive leader has stepped up to take control of the whole team. Getting defeated by a Matt Nagy led Bears’ offense would be the most embarrassing thing to happen to this defense, if they weren’t already beat by the Lions. The defensive leaders need to step up to ensure that doesn’t happen.

The Offense Needs To Play A Complete Game

The Vikings’ offense is the most confusing part of this team. They’re capable of outscoring almost any opponent in the league but can also be shut down by the worst defenses. Against the Steelers, the Vikings offense was on fire for the first half. In the second half, it was a different story. Kirk Cousins had his worst half of football this entire season and the Vikings wouldn’t score another touchdown until the fourth quarter. That’s been the case for this entire season, with the Vikings offense going to sleep for stretches of every game.

There is zero doubt that the Vikings’ offense completely outclasses the Bears. Kirk Cousins’ numbers are insane, despite the ugly Steelers game. Justin Jefferson is one of the best wide receivers in the league. Adam Thielen, KJ Osborn, and Tyler Conklin have all proven to be reliable pass catchers. I’ve already discussed the impact Dalvin Cook has. This offense has the firepower to be one of the best offenses in the entire league. Now with their playoff hopes hanging in the balance, the Vikings need to turn on the jets and blast far inferior opponents. The Bears are a bad team. It would be nice to watch the Vikings’ offense go out and dominate a division rival.

Final Verdict

The Vikings always make the game interesting, no matter who they play. Despite that, the Vikings are the better team. I expect the Vikings to win this game and continue a push for the playoffs. Don’t be surprised if it all comes down to the final drive again.

Other Notable Factors

  • Adam Thielen is making progress and could play on Monday. His return could add a big boost to the Vikings’ offense.
  • Christian Darrisaw returned to practice and was a limited participant Thursday. The offensive line could get a big boost with his return.
  • The Vikings have four players on the Covid-19/Reserve list, including backup running back Alexander Mattison. His absence may not make much of an impact, if Dalvin Cook is playing well.
  • Everson Griffen is eligible for return this game. If he rejoins the Vikings’ defense, he could add some much needed leadership.

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  1. Pingback: Vikings Waive Bashaud Breeland - Championship Sports Media

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