The Minnesota Vikings are aiming for their best start since 2016 when they host the Chicago Bears on Sunday afternoon.
This should be a great point for the Vikings against a team that seems more focused on a high draft pick than winning games, but it also has a few creases that could make Sunday’s game more unpredictable than You think.
That being said, here are five things you can count on.
Dalvin Cook with a monster game
Cook hasn’t looked like himself in the last four games with a career-low average of 4.4 yards per carry. Although Cook is still waiting for his first 20-yard run and 100-yard game this season, chances are both will happen against the Bears.
Chicago comes into Sunday’s game with the worst running defense in the league, allowing 183.3 yards per game. Last week against the New York Giants, they allowed Saquon Barkley to rush for 146 yards and allowed a total of 263 rushing yards.
That’s good news for the Vikings, who have three offensive linemen (Brian O’Neill, Garrett Bradbury and Ed Ingram) in the top 15 for their position in Pro Football Focus’ run-blocking classes. That should give the ground game plenty of room to run and a big day for Cook.
Chicago runs the damn ball
If you thought Mike Zimmer loved to run the ball, wait ’til you see the bears. Chicago is third in the NFL with 136 rushing attempts this season. Only the Philadelphia Eagles (153) and Cleveland Browns (149) ran the ball more.
There’s a good reason for that. The Bears average 5.1 yards per carry — the fifth-highest clip in the NFL. Though David Montgomery is questionable with an ankle injury, backup Khalil Herbert has 6.1 yards per carry this season.
The Vikings have so far played a conservative style of defense that eliminates big-pass play rather than stopping the run, but with Minnesota allowing 4.7 yards per carry this season, running the ball could be the Bears’ best chance to walk away with a win .
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DJ Wonnum terrorizes the bears
The other reason the Bears run the ball so much is that their passing game is horrendous. The Bears ranked 29th in PFF’s most recent offensive line rankings and allow pressure on 49 percent of Justin Field’s attempts — the fifth-highest rate in the NFL.
Even worse? Fields has been a wreck under pressure this season, posting a 27.4 passer rating on 21 attempts. Although the Bears don’t throw often, there should be opportunities to clean up – and that’s where DJ Wonnum comes in.
Of Wonnum’s eight sacks last season, five came against the Bears. Most of those sacks came because of the pressure generated from somewhere else on the pitch, but Wonnum was the janitor cleaning up those games. Make sure he comes to Fields at least once and the Vikings live in the Chicago backfield.
In the Sunday game, the planets align for the Vikings. It’s a lunch game. it’s home It’s against a bad division opponent. The Vikings were supposed to destroy the bears, but there is a small caveat.
The Vikings played in London last week and decided to postpone their reunion later in the season. According to Ben Goessling of the Star Tribuneneither team won in London and returned home to win the following week. Action Network’s Brandon Anderson adds that previous teams who played in London in the week after a game went into the fourth quarter either behind or in a draw.
Kevin O’Connell and his staff have tried various methods to avoid any form of jet lag, but the Vikings’ itinerary could make things more interesting on Sunday.
The Vikings will smash the bears on Sunday
Itinerary or not, this is where the Vikings should prove themselves as a legitimate team.
The Bears have a quarterback that looks like a broke, an offensive line that’s a sieve, a defense that’s making ends meet, and a general manager that’s more focused on 2025 than he is this season. If the Vikings want to be a legitimate contender, they should crush teams like the one they’ll see on Sunday.
Regardless, a win is a win, and even if it’s closer than it should be, they should be able to pull off one in Week 5.
Prediction: Vikings 31, Bears 10