The Minnesota Vikings are 3-1 on the season and leading the NFC North division thanks to a commanding victory over the Green Bay Packers in Week 1. While all that is true, they’ve hardly looked the part of a team in complete sync thus far. Chicago coming to town allows them an opportunity to change that.
Coming into the 2022 NFL season, Chicago appeared to be among the worst teams in the league. Justin Fields was given little help, and he’s yet to take the necessary steps to compete at the highest level. Facing a Trey Lance-led San Francisco 49ers team, the Bears emerged with a surprising victory in Week 1. They had home-field advantage, and while they mustered just 19 points, Chicago held the 49ers to 10 of their own.
Through four weeks, Chicago’s only other victory came against the hapless Houston Texans in a game they won by just a field goal. Against both the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants, the Bears looked like every bit the bottom feeder they were expected to be.
On Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings, Chicago comes in as a seven-point underdog, according to online bookmaker Bovada. Even with a traditional three-point advantage given to homefield accommodation, a seven-point line is one of true substance at the professional level.
Through four games, the Bears rank dead last on passing offense. Shockingly they’ve managed a grand total of just 471 yards through the air. That’s nearly 200 yards behind the next lowest team, a New York Giants club that knocked them off a week ago. Conversely, Chicago is one of only three teams to run for over 700 yards this season. However, that hasn’t been entirely accumulated from a single source, as David Montgomery has missed time with Khalil Herbert filling in and Fields scrambling.
On the other side of the ball, Chicago has limited opposing offenses to the 4th lowest passing yards in the league. Only the Packers, 49ers, and Buffalo Bills have given up fewer passing yards through the season’s first four weeks. Similar to their offensive numbers, there’s a flip side at play here, and the Bears are the worst team against the run in football. They’ve allowed 733 yards on the ground, whereas no other team has given up 700 to this point.
It seems the blueprint for Minnesota is pretty drawn out for them. While Kirk Cousins, Justin Jefferson, and Adam Thielen headline the passing game, it may be the ground attack that destroys a Chicago club looking to get beat. This is a week where Dalvin Cook should look to eat, and there’s plenty of opportunity for Alexander Mattison to filter in as well.
Kevin O’Connell will need to orchestrate opportunities for his passing game, and finding ways to get Jefferson the ball remains a must. Although the Bears have been strong against opposing air attacks, they’ve yet to see a unit as talented as Minnesota’s.
Coming off an ugly win against the New Orleans Saints in Week 4, Minnesota has an opportunity to make a statement. The Vikings allowed the Lions game to be much too close, and they took a beating against the Philadelphia Eagles. Knowing it’s only been Week 1 against the Packers, where they’ve genuinely asserted themselves, a bad team like the Bears being beaten to a pulp would be a nice sight to see.
Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.