The Chicago Bears will square off against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 15. Both of these teams come into this battle at 6-7 and on the cusp of a playoff spot, so there’s a lot at stake.
When these divisional foes take the field on Sunday, it will mark their 120th all-time meeting. The Vikings currently hold a 61-56-2 lead in the rivalry.
Prior to their upcoming Week 15 matchup, the Bears and the Vikings will have last faced off 34 days ago. On November 16th, 2020, the Bears hosted the Vikings for a Monday Night Football battle. At the time, the Bears were 5-4 and the Vikings were 3-5. Chicago was only on a three-game skid and Minnesota had rattled off two consecutive wins over the Packers and Lions. While the game took place only five short weeks ago, it feels like it’s been forever.
This game got off to a sloppy start as the Vikings and Bears both turned the ball over on their first offensive possessions. Minnesota had the ball first and marched 47 yards with ease before Kyle Rudolph coughed up the football in Bears territory. However, the Vikings got the ball right back two plays later when Harrison Smith picked off an errant pass from Nick Foles intended for Anthony Miller.
The Vikings then drove 41 yards on six plays to find the end zone on an absolute dime from Kirk Cousins to Adam Thielen, who was working against Buster Skrine. In response, the Bears put together their best offensive drive of the game — 70 yards on 14 plays — which ended with a Cairo Santos field goal. The two teams exchanged punts before the Bears forced another turnover. Khalil Mack ripped the ball out of Thielen’s hands to prevent a potential Vikings score.
Even with the Bears holding excellent field position, they only managed a field goal. The Vikings sported a 7-6 lead going into the break.
When the second half kicked off, Cordarrelle Patterson stunned the Vikings. He returned the kickoff 104 yards to the house for a touchdown. That score ended up being the Bears’ only touchdown of the game.
On the ensuing drive, the Bears forced a Vikings’ punt only for newly-acquired punt returner Dwayne Harris to fumble it away. As the Vikings set up shop deep in Bears’ territory, they managed just one yard on four plays and settled for a field goal.
The Bears and Vikings then combined for three consecutive punts before Minnesota drove 60 yards on seven plays to tie the game on another field goal. However, that scoring drive proved to be devastating for the Bears. Akiem Hicks suffered an injury and did not return to the game.
In typical Bears fashion, the offense went three and out and punted the ball back to the Vikings. The Vikings then capitalized as Dalvin Cook gashed a weakened Chicago defense. Minnesota capped off their nine-play, 63-yard drive with a touchdown pass from Cousins to Thielen once again. The Vikings failed to cash in on a two-point conversion attempt.
Following the Vikings touchdown, both teams stalled on their final five drives down the home stretch:
During the Bears’ final drive of the game, Nick Foles suffered a hip injury on the very first play. The Vikings defensive front swarmed the veteran quarterback and wrestled him down forcefully for a sack. Foles ultimately lost his job as well, as the Bears have not gone back to him since. With Mitchell Trubisky inactive with his own injury, Tyler Bray came into the game in a mop-up role.
The Chicago Bears fell to the Minnesota Vikings 19-13 and endured their first head-to-head loss of the rivalry in the Matt Nagy era.
The Week 15 showdown is set for Sunday, December 20th at 12 PM CT. It will be televised on FOX. Be sure to tune in to the Bears On Tap podcast for a preview of the matchup.