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5 Vikings-Bears Storylines to Follow

The Vikings must quickly rebound from their first loss of the season because they will hit the road for a second consecutive week and take on the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field to cap Week 8 in the NFL on Monday Night Football.

Here are five storylines to chase during the buildup to Week 8's Vikings-Bears matchup…

1. Vikings aim to correct pass protection issues

It surely is no coincidence that Sam Bradford's least productive outing as Vikings quarterback came on the same day he was sacked six times. Philadelphia found ways to take advantage of an injury-ravaged Vikings offensive line and running backs who were mistake-prone in the protection game. This week, the Vikings will look for ways to correct those mistakes so they can keep Bradford off the Soldier Field turn and help the passing game get off the ground.

Look back at photos over the course of time featuring games between the Vikings and the Bears.

2. Cutler may be poised to return to lineup vs. Vikings

Bears starting quarterback Jay Cutler hasn't been starting at quarterback the past five weeks because of a thumb injury he suffered in Week 2. Since then, it's been Brian Hoyer who has handled the offense. But Hoyer broke his arm in last week's loss to Green Bay, which could set the stage for Cutler's return from injury. While on one hand Cutler may have to shake off some rest from more than a month away from game action, it's also good news for the Bears because they may not have to turn to their third starting quarterback of the season (Matt Barkley).

3. Vikings enter back-to-back division game stretch

There are no unimportant stretches in a NFL team's schedule, but it can be argued that some stretches are a touch more important than others. One example is the next two weeks for the Vikings, as they come off their first loss of the season to play consecutive games within the NFC North – at Chicago this week and then at home against Detroit next week. The Vikings are already 1-0 in the division because of their Week 2 win over Green Bay, but improving to 2-0 to this week and then aiming for a 3-0 mark next week versus Detroit would be a significant step forward in their NFC North title defense.

4. Next challenge for Zimmer/Vikings defense: WR Alshon Jeffery

Through six games, the Vikings have made it tough for opposing No. 1 wide receivers. Kelvin Benjamin, Odell Beckham, Jr., DeAndre Hopkins and Jordan Matthews have all experienced tough outings against the Vikings. This week, though, the Vikings will go against a receiver who has been tough on them since he entered the NFL. Bears star pass catcher Alshon Jeffery has six touchdowns, three triple-digit receiving yard games and three double-digit reception games against the Vikings, including a 10-catch, 116-yard, one touchdown performance last season and a 12-catch, 249-yard, two-touchdown outing in 2013. You can be sure Jeffery will be a marked man on Monday night and you can be equally as sure that Jeffery would love to haul in his first touchdown catch of the season against Zimmer and Co.

5. A Vikings win on Monday night would…

-- Keep the Vikings in first place in the NFC

-- Give the Vikings consecutive Monday Night Football victories for the first time since 2008-09

-- Be the first back-to-back road victories for the Vikings over the Bears since 1999-2000

-- Increase the Vikings all-time series advantage over Chicago to 58-51-2

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