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Early Look: Vikings to Renew Rivalry with Bears at Soldier Field

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

EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings righted their ship after back-to-back losses with a 36-28 victory over the Steelers on Thursday Night Football in Week 14.

Up next?

A chance for Minnesota (6-7) to level its record to a .500 win percentage for the third time this season after two-game holes.

The opportunity will occur at Chicago's Soldier Field under the lights of Monday Night Football.

The Bears (4-9) also played in prime time last week. Chicago got out to an early lead against the Packers but hit tough sledding in the third quarter and fell 45-30 at Green Bay.

This will be the 121st overall meeting (including one playoff game) between the teams that have shared a division since Minnesota's inaugural 1961 season.

Here's an Early Look at the Vikings Week 15 game against the Bears, presented by Minnesota Eye Consultants, the Official LASIK partner of the Minnesota Vikings.

STAT OF THE WEEK

656 yards

Justin Jefferson has just completed the most prolific five-game stretch for receiving yards in Vikings history.

Jefferson recorded seven catches for 79 yards and a 14-yard touchdown to give him 656 yards in his past five games.

1. Jefferson 577 (143 at Chargers, 169 vs. Packers, 83 at 49ers, 182 at Lions, 79 vs. Steelers)

2. Sidney Rice 642 in 2009 (176 vs. Ravens, 136 at Steelers, 40 at Packers, 201 vs. Lions, 89 vs. Seahawks)

3. Randy Moss 642 in 2001 (171 vs. Giants, 25 vs. Bears, 144 at Steelers, 158 vs. Titans, 144 at Lions)

NORSEMAN NOTES

Kirk Cousins ranks sixth in the NFL this season with a passer rating of 103.5.

Cousins completed 25 of 36 passes (69.4 percent) for 292 yards with two touchdowns and an interception for a passer rating of 100.7 at Soldier Field in 2020.

Dalvin Cook ranks third in the NFL this season with 978 yards. He needs 22 more for his third consecutive season with 1,000 rushing yards.

Cook's 153 yards in the first half against Pittsburgh set a Vikings record for the most in the opening 30 minutes of a game. His 205-yard total on the ground against the Steelers is the most by any player this season.

Justin Jefferson ranks second in the NFL with 1,288 receiving yards on the season.

Jefferson's career total is up to 2,688 receiving yards. He needs 39 to pass Randy Moss for the most by a Viking in his first two NFL seasons and 68 to break the record of 2,755 set by Odell Beckham, Jr., in his first two seasons.

Minnesota's defense enters Week 15 atop the NFL with 41 sacks on the season.

Bashaud Breeland recorded his second interception of the season in Week 14.

Last week against the Steelers, Minnesota totaled five sacks, including the following milestones:

Eric Kendricks recorded his fifth sack to set a new single-season personal best.

Harrison Smith recorded his third sack to tie his single-season personal best. He extended his record for sacks by a Vikings DB to 16.5.

Michael Pierce set his new personal best with his third sack of the season, despite only playing in six games so far.

View photos of the Vikings 53-man roster as of Jan. 5, 2022.

KNOW THE FOE

Head Coach: Matt Nagy, 4th season with Bears (32-29 in regular season, 0-2 in playoff games)

Justin Fields is 2-7 in his first nine starts; the rookie has completed 133 of 231 passes for 1,585 yards and six touchdowns with 10 interceptions. His passer rating is 69.3.

David Montgomery leads the ground attack with 608 yards and four scores on 144 carries. He's added 26 receptions for 193 yards.

Darnell Mooney leads Bears receivers with 52 receptions, 740 yards and three touchdowns.

Allen Robinson II has 32 catches for 353 yards and one score after recording 102 for 1,250 and six touchdowns last season.

TE Cole Kmet has added 43 catches for 419 yards.

The Bears offense ranks 28th in scoring and 31st in yards per game.

Chicago's defense will be without multiple key stars including Khalil Mack, who has 6.0 sacks on the season, but Robert Quinn ranks tied for third in the league with 14 sacks.

Roquan Smith ranks fifth in the NFL with 130 tackles, but he injured his hamstring against the Packers.

Jakeem Grant ripped off a 97-yard punt return for a touchdown last week at Green Bay.

CONNECTIONS

VIKINGS-BEARS

Vikings long snapper Andrew DePaola played for the Bears in 2017.

Bears QBs coach John DeFilippo was the Vikings offensive coordinator in 2018; Chicago TEs coach Clancy Barone held the same role for Minnesota in 2017 and became the Vikings offensive line coach in 2018 after the tragic death of Tony Sparano.

LOCAL CONNECTIONS

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer was born in Peoria, Illinois. He played high school football and wrestled at Lockport Township before attending Illinois State.

Minnesota QB Kirk Cousins was born in Barrington, Illinois, and practice squad LB Tuf Borland is from Bolingbrook.

FORMER PRO TEAMMATES

Vikings DT Dalvin Tomlinson with Bears DL Mario Edwards, Jr., and LB Alec Ogletree at the Giants

Minnesota WR/PR Dede Westbrook and Chicago QB Nick Foles, WR Allen Robinson II, DB Tashaun Gipson and LB Cassius Marsh at Jacksonville

Vikings P Jordan Berry with Bears TE Jesse James, DB Artie Burns and Marsh at the Steelers

Minnesota QB Sean Mannion with Chicago DB Marqui Christian, LB Robert Quinn, Ogletree, Foles and K Cairo Santos at the St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams

Vikings CB Bashaud Breeland with Bears RB Damien Williams at the Chiefs; Breeland and Bears TE Jimmy Graham with the Packers

Minnesota DE Tashawn Bower and Chicago WR Damiere Byrd in New England

Vikings S Xavier Woods with Bears QB Andy Dalton and Quinn for the Cowboys

Minnesota LB Nick Vigil with Chicago DL Margus Hunt and Dalton in Cincinnati

Vikings TE Chris Herndon with Ogletree and Christian for the Jets

Minnesota DT Sheldon Richardson with Graham in Seattle

FORMER COLLEGE TEAMMATES

Vikings RB Dalvin Cook with Edwards and DT Eddie Goldman at Florida State

Minnesota T Brian O'Neill and Chicago TE J.P. Holtz at Pittsburgh

Vikings TE Irv Smith, Jr., and Tomlinson with Bears S Eddie Jackson at Alabama

Minnesota RB Kene Nwangwu with Chicago RB David Montgomery at Iowa State

Herndon with Burns and Bears S Deon Bush at Miami

Vikings G Wyatt Davis with Bears QB Justin Fields at Ohio State

Minnesota T Blake Brandel with Chicago RB Ryan Nall at Oregon State

Vikings T Christian Darrisaw with Bears RB Khalil Herbert at Virginia Tech

VIKINGS TOP PERFORMERS VS. BEARS

CAREER TOTALS

Offense

Kirk Cousins: 7 games (2 starts with WAS, 5 with MIN), 3-4 as a starter (1-4 with MIN); 168-of-246 passing, 68.3 completion percentage, 1,760 passing yards, 9 TDs, 5 INT, 92.5 passer rating

Dalvin Cook: 5 games; 88 carries, 314 rushing yards, 2 TDs

Adam Thielen: 13 games; 36 receptions, 374 yards, 4 TDs

Justin Jefferson: 2 games; 16 receptions, 239 yards

Defense

Harrison Smith: 15 games; 73 tackles, 5 INT, 110 interception return yards (56-yard TD), 1 FR, 9 PD

Bashaud Breeland: 4 games (2 starts with Washington, 1 with Green Bay, 1 with Kansas City); 10 tackles, 2 INT, 4 passes defended

(tackles are league stats)

VIKINGS BIG DAYS VS. BEARS

Cousins: 25-of-36 passing (69.4 percent), 292 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, passer rating of 100.7 at Soldier Field on Nov. 16, 2020

Jefferson: 8 catches, 135 yards at Soldier Field on Nov. 16, 2020

Thielen: 3 catches, 68 yards (first career receiving TD on a 44-yard catch) on Dec. 28, 2014

Smith: 56-yard interception return for a touchdown, 7 tackles vs. Chicago on Dec. 9, 2012

Breeland (with Washington on Dec. 24, 2016): 2 INT, 1 kickoff return for 18 yards

VIKINGS-BEARS SERIES NOTES

1. The Vikings have a 61-57-2 record against the Bears, a series that began in Minnesota's Inaugural Game. Fran Tarkenton came off the bench to throw four touchdowns and rushed for another to spark the massive upset.

2. The two longest pass plays in Vikings history have come against the Bears. Tarkenton completed an 89-yard touchdown pass to Charley Ferguson on Nov. 11, 1962, and Gus Frerotte set an unbreakable record with a 99-yard touchdown to Bernard Berrian on Nov. 30, 2008.

3. Except for the strike-shortened 1982 season, the teams have met twice yearly in every regular season. This will be the latest first meeting of a season between the squads in series history.

Longest Vikings winning streak in series: 8 games (Dec. 3, 1972 – Oct. 10, 1976)

Longest Vikings losing streak in series: 6 games, twice (Dec. 11, 1983 – Oct. 5, 1986 an Dec. 28, 2009 — Nov. 25, 2012)

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