It wasn't pretty, but the Vikings won the fourth quarter on Monday Night Football to get a rare win at Soldier Field.
The Vikings came home with a 19-13 win, just their fifth win in Chicago in the past 21 seasons. Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer has recorded three of them, as he is now 3-4 in his career alongside Lake Michigan.
This one won't make any highlight reels, but with the game tied at 13 entering the fourth quarter, Minnesota put its foot down and surged ahead for its third straight win.
Dalvin Cook finished with 96 hard-earned yards on 30 carries, while Kirk Cousins made timely plays with 292 passing yards with two touchdowns. Cousins, who had a pick but recorded a passer rating of 100.7, recorded his first win as a starter on Monday NightFootball in 10 tries.
Adam Thielen had a pair of touchdown catches for Minnesota. He's now tied with Ahmad Rashad for six in franchise history with 34 touchdown catches.
And Justin Jefferson, making his Monday NightFootball debut, had eight receptions for 135 yards. The rookie tied Randy Moss' rookie record of four games with 100-plus receiving yards.
Another key stat? The Vikings converted on eight of 15 third downs against a Chicago defense that entered Monday night with the league's top-ranked third-down defense.
Minnesota sputtered early in the season with a 1-5 start, but the Vikings have rebounded with three wins in a row, including at Green Bay and Chicago.
The Vikings will now return home for three consecutive games at U.S. Bank Stadium.
And with Minnesota at 4-5, the Vikings are also putting themselves into a position to be in the mix for a potential playoff spot.
Here are four more takeaways from Monday night:
1. Vikings defense shines in final 3 quarters
The Bears gained 70 yards of offense in the opening quarter Monday night … before Minnesota's defense stifled Chicago the rest of the way.
The Vikings allowed just 79 yards in the final three quarters, as Zimmer's crew put together a masterful performance against a struggling unit.
All in all, the Bears ran 50 offensive plays for just 149 yards, which equated to less than 3.0 yards per play for Chicago.
Minnesota's run defense stepped up, limiting Chicago to 41 yards on 17 carries. The longest run allowed by the Vikings on Monday was 6 yards.
Chicago converted just two of 11 total third downs on the night and had just 10 total first downs.
View images as the Vikings take on the Bears at Soldier Field on Monday Night Football.
2. TOP and POT
The Vikings weren't perfect on Monday night, but they beat the Bears in two key categories that are ultra-important to Zimmer.
Minnesota won the time-of-possession battle in prime time, holding the ball for 35 minutes and 50 seconds compared to 24:10 for Chicago.
And the Vikings took advantage of a pair of Bears turnovers by scoring 10 points off of them.
Harrison Smith had an interception in the first quarter, which led to a 17-yard touchdown catch by Adam Thielen … who snagged it with one hand.
The Vikings later forced a turnover on special teams while trailing 13-7. Josh Metellus recovered a muffed punt, which led to a Dan Bailey field goal.
3. More weird stuff in Chicago
If it seems like odd things always happen for the Vikings in Chicago, Monday night just added to the argument.
First, Kyle Rudolph fumbled on the Vikings opening drive. It was the 10-year veteran's first lost fumble in 137 career games and just his second fumble (the first, in 2014 against Carolina, landed out of bounds). He now has 443 career receptions.
And in the second quarter, Thielen bobbled a pass that was picked up by Bears linebacker Khalil Mack.
They were rare miscues for two of the Vikings most sure-handed players … and a rare interception recorded by a player known more for his sack prowess. That turnover was just Mack's third interception of his career.
The Vikings also led 7-6 at halftime, with the lone touchdown being Thielen's score.
That touchdown was Minnesota's first in a first half at Soldier Field since 2015. The Vikings were shutout in the first half in 2016 and 2017, and managed just three points in 2018 and 2019.
4. An adventure on special teams
Special teams provided all the entertainment you needed Monday night … and even made you hold your breath a few times.
The Vikings poor performance on special teams continued from a week ago, when Minnesota had a pair of punts blocked.
On Monday night, the Vikings gave up a 104-yard kickoff return for a score to Cordarrelle Patterson to open the second half. It was Patterson's eighth career touchdown return for a score, tying the NFL record shared by Josh Cribbs and Leon Washington. Patterson's first five were with the Vikings.
Rookie Dan Chisena had a tough night, as he had a pair of miscues. First, Chisena's foot was in the end zone when he downed a first-half punt, giving the Bears the ball at the 20 for a touchback instead of at the 1-yard line.
Chisena later missed a tackle on a punt return that allowed a 12-yard return by the Bears. Fellow rookie K.J. Osborn nearly muffed a punt in the third quarter, but held on in Vikings territory.
In the fourth quarter, Minnesota took a 19-13 lead. But Austin Cutting had a poor snap on the ensuing extra point, and Dan Bailey couldn't get the kick away as the Vikings lead stayed at six points.
It wasn't all bad on special teams, as the Vikings did get a turnover in that phase. Chicago's Dwayne Harris muffed a second-quarter punt that was recovered by rookie Josh Metellus.
That led to a Vikings field goal to cut Chicago's lead to 13-10.
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