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Vikings at Bears Game Observations: Closing Out Regular Season with Win & Eye on Playoffs

Call it a pre-postseason game.

The Vikings approached their 2022 regular-season finale against the Bears in Chicago a little bit like they did the preseason.

Minnesota was able to have a tune up for starters in the first half before bringing in multiple reserves after halftime to finish the 29-13 victory.

Kirk Cousins completed 17 of 20 passes for 225 yards with a touchdown and passer rating of 130.6 in the first half.

Cousins completed passes to Justin Jefferson (gain of 5) and K.J. Osborn (66) before finding Adam Thielen wide open in the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown with 10:12 in the first quarter.

Osborn finished with five catches for 117 yards, logging his second 100-yard game in Minnesota's past four contests.

Jefferson finished with four catches for 38 yards, and Thielen added one more reception for another 4 yards.

The numbers brought Jefferson's season totals to 128 receptions for 1,809

Nick Mullens replaced Cousins to start the second half and finished 11-of-13 passing with 116 yards. He was intercepted once and finished with a passer rating of 71.8.

Entering the day with an outside shot at the No. 2 seed and no worse than the No. 3, Minnesota still wanted to win the game and bounce back from last week's loss at Green Bay.

Now they'll wait to see what happens between San Francisco and Arizona to find out if they can vault back to the No. 2 spot.

Here are four more observations presented by Minnesota Eye Consultants, the Proud LASIK Partner of the Minnesota Vikings, followed by a scoring summary:

View postgame celebration photos from the Vikings regular-season finale win over the Bears at Soldier Field.

1. Dos for Deuce

Sporting the No. 2 in the NFL for the first time this season because of his nickname Deuce, running back Alexander Mattison scored two rushing touchdowns in a game for the first time.

Mattison scored from a yard out on both rushes, plowing his way through on the first and diving across the goal line on the second.

He totaled a season-high 54 yards on 10 carries with a little bit of extra playing time in the first half when Dalvin Cook headed to the sideline for a bit. Cook returned and finished with 11 carries for 37 yards.

2. Multiple methods of moving the ball

The Vikings had seven different players record a rush and 11 different players record a reception.

Fullback C.J. Ham caught four passes for 47 yards, coming close to his career high of five catches in one game.

The Vikings mixed personnel groupings and also welcomed the return of Irv Smith, Jr., to the lineup. He caught three passes for 14 yards in his first game action since Oct. 30 against Arizona.

3. Replacement plans

The Vikings starting offensive line was LT Christian Darrisaw, LG Ezra Cleveland, C Chris Reed, RG Ed Ingram and RT Olisaemeka Udoh.

After halftime, the Vikings brought in rookie Vederian Lowe for Darrisaw and Kyle Hinton for Cleveland. Hinton had been elevated from the practice squad on Saturday. He was in the game as an extra lineman for Mattison's first rushing touchdown—Hinton's first offensive snap with the Vikings.

On defense, Minnesota started with Patrick Peterson and Duke Shelley at the outside cornerback spots. Peterson was replaced by Kris Boyd.

Peterson nabbed one interception in the first half, and Shelley secured one in the fourth quarter against his former team.

At inside linebacker, the Vikings opened with Eric Kendricks and Jordan Hicks. With Brian Asamoah II inactive, the Vikings brought in William Kwenkeu and Troy Dye at the inside linebacker spots.

4. Dose of weird

It wouldn't have been the Vikings and Bears at Soldier Field with out something a bit weird happening.

This year, it was a sequence at the end of the first half. Cousins completed a pass for no gain to Dalvin Cook on third-and-goal from the Chicago 6 with less than 20 seconds remaining.

Without a timeout remaining, Minnesota had to scramble to get the kicking team on the field. Officials initially ruled that Andrew DePaola snapped the ball before time expired to enable a field goal by Greg Joseph, but after review, it was determined that the Vikings had 12 men on the field.

The penalty resulted in the 3-pointer coming off the board and a 16-6 halftime lead for Minnesota.

Scoring summary

Q1, 10:12 remaining

Vikings 6, Bears 0

Adam Thielen catches a 4-yard pass from Kirk Cousins (Greg Joseph misses PAT wide right) [4 plays, 73 yards, 2:17 time of possession]

Deep shot: K.J. Osborn set up the Vikings touchdown with a 66-yard reception on third-and-7. Osborn lined up in a trips formation on the left side and went deep, getting lost by the Bears defense. It was Osborn's career long for a reception and the longest pass play of the season by Minnesota.

Q2, 9:20 remaining

Vikings 13, Bears 0

Alexander Mattison rushes for 1 yard (Joseph kicks PAT) [12 plays, 66 yards, 6:29 time of possession]

Big conversions: Minnesota picked up third-and-11 to open the second quarter with a nice run after the catch by T.J. Hockenson on a pass that gained 16. The Vikings also kept the chains moving on third-and-6 with a 7-yard reception by Osborn.

Q2, 4:57 remaining

Vikings 16, Bears 0

Joseph kicks a 28-yard field goal [6 plays, 25 yards, 3:22 time of possession]

Pick and points: The Vikings were able to add points after the fifth interception of the season by Patrick Peterson gave Minnesota the ball at the Chicago 35. The drive included a 9-yard catch by C.J. Ham and 15-yard run by Dalvin Cook before stalling in the red zone. Minnesota took a delay of game penalty on third-and-4 before an incompletion on third-and-9.

Q2, 3:31 remaining

Vikings 16, Bears 6

Velus Jones, Jr., rushes for 42 yards (Tim Boyle's 2-point conversion pass fails) [3 plays, 75 yards, 1:26 time of possession]

Narrow passage: Jones got the ball on a bit of trick play and accelerated to the right, picking up a block by former Viking Khari Blasingame. He made it through traffic that included four Minnesota defenders like Jake and Elwood Blues, somehow without stepping out of bounds, and then cruised to the end zone.

Q3, 9:25 remaining

Vikings 23, Bears 6

Mattison dives for 1 yard (Joseph kicks PAT) [11 plays, 75 yards, 5:35 time of possession]

View game action photos from the Vikings Week 18 game vs. the Bears at Soldier Field.

M & M's: Backup QB Nick Mullens entered the game to start the third quarter and was joined in the backfield by Mattison. Mullens completed all three passes he attempted for 41 yards and converted a third-and-1 with a sneak. Mattison rushed four times for 23 yards.

Q3, 4:07 remaining

Vikings 23, Bears 13

Cole Kmet catches an 11-yard pass from Nathan Peterman (Cairo Santos kicks PAT) [10 plays, 75 yards, 5:18 time of possession]

Back in action: Peterman returned to the game after sitting out the second quarter and completed four of five passes for 51 yards during the drive.

View pregame photos of the Vikings at Soldier Field ahead of the Week 18 matchup vs. the Bears.

Q4, 14:55 remaining

Vikings 26, Bears 13

Joseph kicks a 50-yard field goal [8 plays, 43 yards, 4:12 time of possession]

Kickstart by Kene: Return specialist and reserve running back Kene Nwangwu opened the possession with an 8-yard run and 16-yard reception.

Q4, 3:39 remaining

Vikings 29, Bears 13

Joseph kicks a 41-yard field goal [9 plays, 36 yards, 3:35 time of possession]

Time for Ty: Rookie running back Ty Chandler made his offensive debut during the drive with three rushes for 12 yards, highlighted by a 10-yard gain.