A fast start for the Bears trumped a furious finish by the Vikings. The Vikings dropped a 25-20 decision to their division rivals on Sunday night at Soldier Field, dropping their record to 5-4-1 with six games to go in the regular season. Here are five takeaways from Sunday night's loss to the Bears.
1. Bears cashed in on turnovers, Vikings didn't
The Vikings and Bears committed the same number of turnovers, but the Bears did a better job of making their takeaways count. Chicago used an interception late in the first half to thwart a potential Vikings score right before halftime and then safety Eddie Jackson returned his interception 27 yards for a touchdown in the 4th quarter to help push the lead to 22-6. The Vikings, meanwhile, managed only field goals after two takeaways staked them with field position in plus territory in the second half.
2. Slow start too much to overcome
Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer can be proud of his team's fight after a valiant 17-point 4th-quarter by the offense and a generally solid performance by the defense, but he will loathe his team's slow start at Soldier Field. The Vikings possessions in the first half ended like this: punt, fumble, punt, punt, interception. Chicago took advantage by scoring on three of their first four possessions and carrying a 14-0 lead into the locker room at halftime. A couple of negative-yardage plays and a Dalvin Cook fumble in the red zone were the culprits when it came to drives stalling for the Vikings in the first two quarters. You can be sure starting fast will be a point of emphasis for the team this week as they prepare for the Green Bay Packers.
3. Diggs had a day
Wide receiver Stefon Diggs wasted no time in his return to the lineup. Injury kept him out of the lineup for the Vikings game versus Detroit before the bye, but Diggs used the time to recover and he came out of the bye on fire. Diggs caught 13 of 18 passes thrown his way for 126 yards and a touchdown. He looked fresh and fast, was up to his old tricks with crisp routes and helped spearhead a second-half surge that made things interesting in the final minutes.
4. Anthony Harris punctuated solid team defensive effort with two interceptions
The Vikings keep leaning on Anthony Harris while starting safety Andrew Sendejo works his way back from injury, and Harris keeps making plays for the defense. He had two interceptions on Sunday night and also had a hand in several other important defensive stops. Harris certainly wasn't the only defensive player who put forth a good effort, as the Vikings finished with three takeaways, surrendered only 3.8 yards per rushing attempt and held quarterback Mitchell Trubisky to 165 passing yards and a passer rating of 61.9.
5. Bear of a front disrupted Vikings offense
A lot of time will be spent figuring out how to better block Chicago's talented and tough defensive line when the Vikings prepare for Round No. 2 against the Bears later in the season. Akiem Hicks and Khalil Mack caused problems for the Vikings offense all night. Hicks finished with six tackles, 5.0 tackles for loss, 1.0 sack and two quarterback hurries, while Mack made his mark on the game with a sack, pass defensed, forced fumble and fumble recovery. Blocking these two difference-makers will be important if the Vikings are to even the score against their division rivals next time.