Things got chippy and weird again between the Vikings and Bears in Chicago, but Minnesota left Soldier Field Monday with a 17-9 victory.
The win evened Minnesota's record at 7-7 with three games to go, including a season finale against a Bears squad that fell to 4-10.
The Vikings did enough to help build a lead, but the defense defined the game with timely turnovers, stops in the red zone and a career-best 3.0 sacks by D.J. Wonnum.
The Bears added a cosmetic touchdown catch by Jesper Horsted, a Minnesota native, on the game's final play.
It also technically meant another one-possession game for the Vikings. That's 13 of 14 played in 2021.
View game action photos between the Vikings and Bears during the Monday Night Football matchup at Soldier Field.
Although the eight-point margin tied Minnesota's win against Pittsburgh for the second-largest by the Vikings this season, things were hardly comfortable.
The Vikings went three-and-punt on six of their 12 possessions.
The Bears outgained the Vikings 370 to 193, although 80 gained by Chicago occurred in the final 1:52.
Chicago totaled 24 first downs (eight by rushing, 13 by passing and three by penalty), compared to 13 for Minnesota (four by rushing, five by passing and four by penalty).
But the Vikings limited the Bears to 2-for-12 on third down and 2-for-5 on fourth downs. Minnesota also clamped down in the red zone, allowing just one touchdown (the final play) in five trips by Chicago inside the Vikings 20.
Justin Jefferson led Minnesota with 47 receiving yards and four receptions, highlighted by his 12-yard touchdown.
Dalvin Cook led Minnesota with 89 rushing yards on 28 carries, and Kene Nwangwu added 33 yards on his three carries while filling in for Alexander Mattison (Reserve/COVID-19).
The weirdness — or at least uncommonness — at Soldier Field included the following:
Dalvin Tomlinson blocked a Bears field goal with 33 seconds remaining in the first half to preserve a 10-3 lead.
The Bears got a piece of a Jordan Berry punt, limiting it to 17 yards and taking over at the 30 but didn't score.
The Vikings netting 61 passing yards after allowing four sacks that lost 26 yards. Minnesota averaged 2.2 yards per pass play on a night when Kirk Cousins went 12-for-24 with an interception.
The ejection of Eric Kendricks in the fourth quarter after the linebacker made contact with Justin Fields as the quarterback was sliding feet first with his torso upright.
Minnesota hosts the Los Angeles Rams at noon on Dec. 26.
Q1, 5:03 remaining
Vikings 7, Bears 0
Justin Jefferson catches a 12-yard pass from Kirk Cousins (Greg Joseph kicks PAT) [8 plays, 54 yards, 4:37 time of possession]
Big conversions: Jefferson recorded two catches during the drive, and both converted third downs. The first gained 18 to pick up a third-and-8 to move the ball to the Chicago 34-yard line. His score occurred on a third-and-5 five plays later.
Q2, 13:28 remaining
Vikings 10, Bears 0
Joseph kicks a 37-yard field goal [8 plays, 34 yards, 4:09 time of possession]
Points off turnover and penalties: The Vikings started with great field position (their own 47) after Cameron Dantzler forced a Justin Fields fumble that was recovered by Anthony Barr. The drive was extended after an incompletion on third-and-7 when Deon Bush was flagged for a helmet-to-helmet contact on Tyler Conklin, who was ruled to be a defenseless receiver as he dove for the ball. Chicago Head Coach Matt Nagy drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty while still arguing the call during the break between the first and second quarter.
Q2, 1:33 remaining
Vikings 10, Bears 3
Cairo Santos kicks a 34-yard field goal [12 plays, 49 yards, 5:55 time of possession]
Settling after sack: The Bears were on the move after converting a fourth-and-1 at the Minnesota 25 with a 12-yard pass from Fields to David Montgomery, but D.J. Wonnum sacked Fields on the first play after the 2-minute warning for a loss of 14.
Q3, 5:51 remaining
Vikings 17, Bears 3
Ihmir Smith-Marsette catches a 7-yard pass from Cousins (Joseph kicks PAT) [12 plays, 77 yards, 5:41 time of possession]
All alone: The Bears cast their attention toward Jefferson with three defenders, leaving the rookie as lonely as Kevin McCallister for his second career catch and first touchdown.
Q4, 0:00 remaining
Vikings 17, Bears 9
Jesper Horsted catches a 19-yard pass from Fields (no extra point attempted) [9 plays, 80 yards, 1:52 time of possession]