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Early Look: Vikings Ready for Prime-Time Opportunity vs. Bears

EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings have reached the midway point of their 2020 season, a stretch that has been filled with both ups and downs.

Despite Minnesota's 3-5 record, the Vikings have some momentum from winning back-to-back games against the Packers and Lions.

Minnesota now heads to Chicago to kick off its second-half stretch, which begins with a Week 10 matchup against the Bears on Monday Night Football.

"Coming out of the bye at 1-5, my thought process was, 'We have 10 football games left guaranteed to us, and those 10 are going to tell the story probably far more than the 1-5 start,'" Kirk Cousins said Sunday. "So, I'd say the same with eight left.

"The second half is going to tell the story far more than the first half," Cousins added. "So, we need to have the best second half we possibly can, and that starts with a tough opponent in Chicago on the road on Monday night."

Chicago is 5-4 on the season, but the Bears have stumbled of late with three consecutive losses.

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

Here's an Early Look at the Vikings Week 10 matchup against the Bears, presented by Minnesota Eye Consultants, the Proud Ophthalmology Partner of the Minnesota Vikings.

Passing: Cousins delivered a second-straight efficient performance in a divisional game in Week 9.

He completed 13 of 20 passes (65 percent) for 220 yards and three scores, including two to tight end Irv Smith, Jr.

Cousins also played a turnover-free game and compiled a season-best passer rating of 141.7.

The quarterback has now completed 137 of 209 passes (65.6 percent) for 1,855 yards with 15 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

Cousins, whose passer rating is 97.7, is winless as the Vikings starter in three games against the Bears.

The Bears will roll with Nick Foles under center, as he took over for Mitchell Trubisky earlier this season. Foles is 2-4 as Chicago's starter.

Foles completed 36 of 52 passes (69.2 percent) for 335 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions in a Week 9 loss at Tennessee. He had a 99.4 passer rating, which was his highest mark of the season.

Foles has now completed 187 of 285 passes (65.6 percentage) for 1,746 yards with 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He has a passer rating of 83.8.

Rushing: Cook had another monster performance and was a repeat winner as the NFC Offensive Player of the Week.

Cook ran past the Lions with 206 rushing yards and two scores on 22 attempts for the first 200-yard game of his career. His touchdown runs came from 5 and 70 yards out.

Alexander Mattison chipped in with 69 yards on 12 attempts.

Despite only playing in six-and-a-half games in 2020, Cook leads the NFL with 858 rushing yards and 12 scores on the ground. His 56 touches have gained 478 scrimmage yards (8.54 yards per touch) and resulted in six touchdowns in back-to-back wins over the Packers and Lions.

Minnesota now ranks third in the NFL at 160.4 rushing yards per game. Chicago is 32nd at 82.3 rushing yards per game.

Chicago ran for just 56 yards against Tennessee, with David Montgomery getting 30 yards on 14 carries. Former Viking Cordarrelle Patterson had 13 yards on three attempts, and linebacker Barkevious Mingo gained 11 on a fake punt

Montgomery has a team-high 131 carries for 472 yards and a score for the Bears, who haven't recorded at least 100 rushing yards as a team in six straight games.

Receiving: Smith doubled his career touchdown total in Week 9, with two catches for scores of 9 yards and 1 yard.

Ameer Abdullah had a 22-yard touchdown reception on his lone offensive snap of the game.

Justin Jefferson (64 yards) and Kyle Rudolph (40 yards) had three catches apiece, while Cook (46 yards) and Adam Thielen (38 yards) each had two receptions.

Thielen has a team-high 37 catches and seven scores. He has 480 receiving yards. Jefferson has a team-best 627 yards on 34 catches with three touchdowns.

Cook has 16 catches for 173 yards and a score in 2020. Rudolph has 14 catches for 175 yards and a score, while Smith has 13 catches for 159 yards and two touchdowns.

Chicago's Allen Robinson II had seven catches for 81 yards on Sunday, and tight end Jimmy Graham added six receptions for 55 yards and a score.

Anthony Miller had five receptions for 59 yards. Ryan Nall also had a touchdown reception.

Robinson leads Chicago in receptions (57) and yards (712). He is second on the team with three scores.

Graham has a team-high five touchdown catches on 35 catches for 302 yards. Miller and Darnell Mooney each have 30-plus catches and at least 300 receiving yards.

Chicago's offense ranks 29th at 19.8 points per game. Minnesota is 12th at 27.1.

Defense: The Vikings defense had a strong performance against the Lions, getting off to a fast start before recording a trio of second-half interceptions.

Eric Kendricks, Eric Wilson and Harrison Smith had the takeaways for Minnesota's defense, which allowed a season-low 20 points.

Wilson leads all NFL linebackers this season in combined interceptions, forced fumbles and opponent fumble recoveries. He has six, with three picks, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.

Wilson leads the Vikings in interceptions, and is tied for a team-best 2.5 sacks with Ifeadi Odenigbo.

The Vikings allowed 421 yards to the Lions and now rank 29th in the league with 412.9 yards allowed per game.

Chicago has allowed 335.1 yards per game, which ranks ninth this season.

Khalil Mack has a team-high 6.5 sacks, and Tashaun Gipson has a pair of interceptions.

Minnesota and Chicago each have nine takeaways in 2020.

Special Teams: Dan Bailey made four of five extra points Sunday and did not attempt a field goal. Bailey is now 6-for-8 on field goals and has made 19 of 20 extra points in 2020.

Britton Colquitt averaged 52.3 yards per punt on just three kicks Sunday, but the Vikings also had a pair of punts blocked against the Lions.

Returner K.J. Osborn had 79 yards on four kickoff returns, plus a loss of three yards on his lone punt return. Minnesota ranks last in the NFL with an average of just 2.0 yards per punt return.

Bears kicker Cairo Santos made two extra points Sunday and a 22-yard field goal against the Titans. He is now 15-for-17 on field goals and 17-for-17 extra point attempts in 2020.

Pat O'Donnell punted six times against the Titans, averaging 49.7 yards with two punts landing inside the 20. He's averaging 46.9 yards per attempt.

Patterson — a three-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro — handles kickoff return duties for the Bears. He leads the league with 652 yards on 24 attempts, an average of 27.2 yards per return.

Patterson has seven kickoff returns for touchdowns in his career, including five with the Vikings, which is tied for the franchise lead.

Dwayne Harris has nine punt returns for 81 yards this season.

End the skid

Minnesota has lost four straight games to Chicago, which is the longest NFC North losing streak to a team in Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer's tenure with the team.

(Note: the most-recent loss came in Week 17 of the 2019 season when the Vikings rested the majority of their starters).

Zimmer is 2-4 at Soldier Field, a place where the Vikings have struggled for the past two decades. But in the two seasons Minnesota won in Chicago (2015 and 2017), the Vikings claimed the NFC North title.

The Vikings are just 4-16 in their past 20 trips to Soldier Field. In three of those wins, the Vikings have held the Bears to 20 or fewer points.