Vikings (5-1) vs Bears (1-6)
Their perfect record now a thing of the past, the Minnesota Vikings look to get back on track when they visit the Chicago Bears on Monday night in a matchup of NFC North rivals (Enter Contests). The Vikings opened the season with five consecutive wins prior to their bye week but absorbed their first loss in a 21-10 defeat at Philadelphia last week. Jay Cutler, who suffered a thumb injury in Week 2, is poised to return to the starting lineup amid a published report that Bears coach John Fox told friends that he is “done” with the veteran quarterback after this season.
ABOUT THE BEARS
Backup quarterback Brian Hoyer suffered a broken arm and third-stringer Matt Barkley appeared totally overmatched in last week’s 26-10 loss at Green Bay. The Bears will now turn to the inconsistent Cutler, coming back from injury, for stability at quarterback. Ironic right! The issue facing the Bears and Cutler is how to jump-start an offense that is averaging a league-low 15.9 points per game and ranks 25th in the NFL in rush with an average of 87.9 yards. Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery has five TD receptions and is averaging 108.8 receiving yards in his last five games versus Minnesota. Chicago’s defense sits 20th in the league, permitting an average of 24.1 points per game.
ABOUT THE VIKINGS
Injuries to top running back Adrian Peterson and along the offensive line are stagnating Minnesota, which ranks 31st in total offense (299.2 yards) and 30th in rushing (74.3). Quarterback Sam Bradford had six touchdowns and zero interceptions in his first four starts but was picked off once and lost a pair of fumbles last week against his former team. One of his new favorite targets, wideout Cordarrelle Patterson, has 16 receptions and two touchdowns over the last three games but missed practice Thursday with a concussion. Still, the Vikings rely on a defense that is limiting foes to an NFL-low 14.0 points. Minnesota swept the season series in 2015-16 and has won the last three meetings.