The Chicago Bears are forecasted to win 6.5 games in 2022, the same total as the Carolina Panthers, Detroit Lions, and Jacksonville Jaguars. And if they get to that mark, they’ll do so with a litany of former Minnesota Vikings players.
Chicago hired a new general manager (Ryan Poles) and head coach (Matt Eberflus) this offseason, much like the Vikings who hired Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell. They’re starting fresh, evidenced by letting Khalil Mack, Allen Robinson, Eddie Goldman, Akiem Hicks, Danny Trevathan, Tarik Cohen, Jimmy Graham, Tashaun Gipson, Jason Peters, and others walk.
Poles must have an ardor for former Vikings because, before roster cuts to 53 men, the Bears have seven Minnesota alumnus — mostly on offense:
- Jake Bargas (FB)
- Khari Blasingame (FB)
- Dakota Dozier (OL)
- DeMarquis Gates (LB)
- Riley Reiff (OT)
- Trevor Siemian (QB)
- Tajae Sharpe (WR)
The Bears, along with Vikings (maybe), are one of the few teams to still utilize a fullback. Bargas was signed over the weekend to compete with Blasingame, who is considered the frontrunner to win the job. Bargas was released by Minnesota on August 16th as the Vikings shaved down to 90 players.
Dozier was supposed to be the Bears “fix” at offensive guard, but he was injured in June. Now, he’ll recover with the Bears with sights presumably set on 2023. Vikings fans didn’t lament his exodus from Minnesota and felt relief when Dozier landed in Chicago. He struggled with the Vikings.
DeMarquis Gates spent the spring and summer of 2020 in Minnesota but was released during the preseason. He’s currently listed as the Bears fourth-string middle linebacker. Riley Reiff was probably the most surprising ex-Vikings addition to Poles’ roster. He signed on the Bears dotted line for one year and a contract that can balloon to $12.5 million with incentives. He’s on deck to start at right tackle, a rather obvious forecast for that pricetag.
Quarterback Trevor Siemian backed up Kirk Cousins during the QB1’s opening salvo with the Vikings and has since played for the New York Jets, Tennessee Titans, and New Orleans Saints. In 2022, he’s battling the notorious Nathan Peterman for Chicago’s QB2 job behind Justin Fields.
Finally, Sharpe is listed around the Bears WR7 slot on the depth chart. Poles signed oodles of WR3-WR4 types in 2022, evidently hoping a handful blossom into WR2 types. Other examples in Equanimeous St. Brown, N’Keal Harry, and Dante Pettis.
It is unclear why the pipeline has flown from Minneapolis to Chicago, but it’s quite real.
The Vikings and Bears showdown in Minnesota in seven weeks at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).