View game action photos between the Vikings and Bears during the Week 18 season finale matchup at U.S. Bank Stadium.
MINNEAPOLIS — The 2021 Vikings season ended with a victory formation by the offense.
Minnesota ran out the 61st season in team history by running out the clock for the final 68 seconds.
The 31-17 win at U.S. Bank Stadium was Minnesota's largest in a win this season. The Vikings finished 8-9, a tick below .500 in the NFL's first ever 17-game season.
Justin Jefferson also finished just a bit below Randy Moss' single-season franchise record for yards in a season (1,632). He needed 124 to cap his second pro season and totaled 107 on five catches, highlighted by a 45-yard score that enabled Minnesota to tie the game at 17 with 13:35 left in the season.
K.J. Osborn followed with a 21-yard touchdown from Kirk Cousins with 8:04 remaining, and Patrick Peterson sealed the deal with a 66-yard interception return for a touchdown with 4:54 left on the clock.
The Vikings overcame a sluggish first half by putting together a drive for a field goal as the second quarter expired.
The small spark lit a fuse for Minnesota in the second half, and the Vikings scored the game's final 21 points.
Kirk Cousins finished 14-of-22 passing for 250 yards with three scores and a passer rating of 142.0.
Rookie Ihmir Smith-Marsette totaled 103 yards on three receptions, which included a 44-yard touchdown.
The Bears dominated the first half, totaling 13 first downs and allowing just four. Chicago outgained Minnesota 210 to 87, and it could have been much worse if not for 65 yards gained by the Vikings in the final 31 seconds of the first half.
Chicago ran 41 plays and held the ball for 19:22 of the first half.
The Vikings ran 21 plays on offense and possessed the football for 10:38 in the game's opening 30 minutes.
Cousins was 5-of-10 passing for 78 yards and a passer rating of 76.2 in the first half.
Dalton completed 15 of 22 passes for 162 yards and a score for a passer rating of 104.7 in the first half.
Dalton finished 33-of-48 passing for 325 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.
Blake Lynch recorded the other interception.
The Vikings sacked Dalton seven times, including 2.0 each by Anthony Barr, Kenny Willekes and D.J. Wonnum. Dalvin Tomlinson recorded the other.
Q1, 12:09 remaining
Bears 3, Vikings 0
Cairo Santos kicks a 43-yard field goal [7 plays, 39 yards, 2:51 time of possession]
On money to Mooney: Andy Dalton completed his first two pass attempts of the game to Darnell Mooney for gaions of 14 and 16 yards to move into field goal range thanks to a 36-yard return of the opening kickoff by Khalil Herbert.
Q2, 4:55 remaining
Bears 6, Vikings 0
Santos kicks a 46-yard field goal [8 plays, 36 yards, 4:03 time of possession]
Q2, 0:31 remaining
Bears 14, Vikings 0
Damien Williams catches a 23-yard pass from Dalton (Allen Robinson II catches pass from Dalton for 2-point conversion) [9 plays, 67 yards, 2:39 time of possession]
Q2, 0:00 remaining
Bears 14, Vikings 3
Greg Joseph kicks a 39-yard field goal [4 plays, 55 yards, 0:31 time of possession]
Deep shots: Kirk Cousins connected with Justin Jefferson for a gain of 25 and followed with a 40-yard completion to rookie Ihmir Smith-Marsette to quickly move the ball to the Chicago 11. A holding penalty against Olisaemeka Udoh, however, caused a loss of 10 and stalled the drive.
Q3, 12:44 remaining
Bears 14, Vikings 10
Smith-Marsette catches a 44-yard pass from Cousins (Joseph kicks PAT) [6 plays, 75 yards, 2:36 time of possession]
Explosives: Dalvin Cook rushed for a gain of 25 on third-and-1 three plays before Smith-Marsette ran past contact by defensive back Marqui Christian, who fell down.
Q3, 1:37 remaining
Bears 17, Vikings 10
Santos kicks a 42-yard field goal [9 plays, 34 yards, 4:10 time of possession]
Taking advantage: The Bears capitalized on advantageous starting field position (their own 42) with a 19-yard completion to Cole Kmet on the second play.
Q4, 13:35 remaining
Bears 17, Vikings 17
Justin Jefferson catches a 45-yard pass from Cousins (Joseph kicks PAT) [6 plays, 75 yards, 3:02 time of possession]
Pair of conversions: Cousins found Smith-Marsette for a gain of 19 on third-and-7 three plays before lofting a deep one to Jefferson, who had a 1-on-1 against safety Eddie Jackson, on third-and-2.
Q4, 8:04 remaining
Vikings 24, Bears 17
K.J. Osborn catches a 21-yard pass from Cousins (Joseph kicks PAT) [6 plays, 87 yards, 2:49 time of possession]
Boom, boom, boom: The final four plays of the drive included a 26-yard completion to Jefferson, a 29-yard run by Cook and the 21-yard touchdown to Osborn.
Q4, 4:54 remaining
Vikings 31, Bears 17
Patrick Peterson returns an interception 66 yards (Joseph kicks PAT)
Streak continues: The pick was Peterson's first as a Viking and 29th of his career. It also means he has recorded at least one interception in all 11 pro seasons.