The Minnesota Vikings head back home this week to take on the Chicago Bears in Week 5. It will be their third divisional game in the first five weeks of the season, and it’s a great opportunity to gain their fourth win of 2022. In order to do so, the Vikings have to dominate the trenches against the Bears. Here’s three ways that they can do that.
Justin Fields Is Under Fire
Through four games, Justin Fields has been sacked at an absurd rate. When opposing teams find ways to generate pressure on the young Bears QB, it’s almost a certainty that he’s going down. Fields leads the league with a sack rate of 19.3% on all of his drop backs, per Pro-Football-Reference and his 16 sacks are tied for second-most in the NFL, behind only Carson Wentz.
So far, the Vikings have a pair of star pass rushers in Danielle Hunter and Za’Darius Smith that have gotten off to relatively slow starts compared to what we’re used to.
Especially for Hunter, he has recorded just one sack heading into Week 5. Last year, he recorded seven sacks over the course of the six games that he appeared in. This feels like a matchup that could be a terrific launching pad into the rest of the season.
Stopping the Run
The one strong point in the Bears offense this year has been the run game. Behind the duo of David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert, along with some production from Fields, the Bears are averaging 183 rushing yards per game, good for third in the NFL. Even more frightening, they are averaging 5.2 yards per carry.
Meahwile, the Vikings defense has not exactly been lighting the world on fire through four games, especially against the run. They are allowing teams to average 4.6 yards per carry right now, which isn’t terrible, but it could become a problem against the better rushing offenses. Minnesota must find a way to stop Chicago’s rushing attack to win this game.
Is Dalvin Cook in Store for a Big Game?
While the Bears have been good at running the ball, their defense has been worse at stopping the run than Minnesota’s. allowing a league-high 733 rushing yards at a clip of 5.1 yards per carry.
Additionally, Dalvin Cook and the Vikings are due for a game where they pop off a couple big runs. They largely have been held in check while this offense attempts to figure out a rhythm in the passing offense with Kirk Cousins and Co.
This could be the week where the Vikings running backs finally break out and put up rushing totals upwards of 200 yards. No matter what, if the Vikings can find a way to control the trenches, they will win on Sunday.
Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing as well as minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh can often be found training for a marathon, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his takes, NFL and otherwise, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken