The Vikings (12-3) are preparing for their second consecutive division matchup as they get set to take on the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
Minnesota defeated the Green Bay Packers 16-0 and looks to keep the momentum going into this weekend’s matchup.
The Bears are officially eliminated from playoff contention, but Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer will not let his team overlook Chicago on Sunday.
Let’s see who the experts pick to win the matchup between the Bears and the Vikings:
Fans who root for their team to lose so that they get a higher draft pick are almost as weird as people who don't like dogs. While I get it (sort of) -- picking higher makes it easier to retool the team -- your GM still has to knock the selection out of the park. And like we saw with these Bears last April, you can move up to build for the future. How about rooting for Chicago to knock the Vikes off their 2-seed perch? For that to happen, John Fox's team must run effectively...Nine times this year, the Vikings have given up less than 200 net yards passing.
Vikings 27, Bears 14 — Elliott Harrison*, *NFL.com
A Vikings win or tie *gives them the other NFC bye with the Eagles. Their previous meeting was Mitchell Trubisky’s first start, a 20-17 Bears win; his play has gotten measurably better, while his team’s record (4-7) really has not. On Saturday night against the Packers, Case Keenum threw for a season-low 139 yards … and it didn’t matter, because the defense threw a shutout.*
Vikings 27, Bears 14 — Sporting News
The Vikings should dismiss Dead Bears Walking as easily as they swatted aside Dead Bengals Walking at home a couple of weeks ago. The most likely wrench to be thrown into this scenario would be early sloppiness on the part of the Vikings’ No. 2-ranked run defense. If Jordan Howard, the NFL’s fifth-leading rusher, gets going, the Bears might gain interest in the game. Throw in a few unexpected turnovers and some drive-killing penalties, and the Vikings could lose.
Vikings 37, Bears 10 — Mark Craig, Star Tribune
*When: Noon (CT) *Sunday (Fox), U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis
The Minnesota Vikings didn't have their sharpest offensive performance last week against the Packers. Expect them to try to right the ship this week and send the offense out on a positive note. A win over the Chicago Bears earns them a bye, and they'll want to have as little rust as possible in the postseason.
Now, I do expect the Bears to keep things close for a while. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky is playing well, and the defensive front seven can give the Vikings some trouble. Chicago will be eager to end Trubisky's rookie campaign with its third win in four games.
However, Minnesota is clearly the better team here — and by a significant margin.
I got to see the Vikings in person last week, and let me tell you, the size of their skill players is astounding. You can't appreciate how big guys like Adam Thielen, Harrison Smith and Xavier Rhodes are by watching them on television.
It's amazing just how big, fast and physical Minnesota is at virtually every position. It'll be able to pull away from Chicago late and secure itself a break to open the postseason.
The Vikings win this and they get the second seed. That means a first-round bye. I think they will be focused here, and the Bears are playing for nothing. Vikings take it.
Minnesota clinches a first-round bye in what is likely John Fox’s last game as the Bears’ coach.
Win or lose, the Vikings seem to be locked in to the No. 2 seed. Which means that if the Eagles lose in the divisional round, the Vikings could be hosting the NFC title game.
FiveThirtyEight’s 2015 NFL forecast uses an Elo-based model to calculate each team’s chances of winning each week.
Pre-game win probabilities: *Vikings 85 percent *— FiveThirtyEight.com
Minnesota still kind of needs a win to clinch a first-round bye. They play the *Bears this week, and our panel is unanimous that it will happen. Chicago’s one of the teams I just don’t know what to expect from. Head coach John Fox is probably getting fired, which makes the last game of the season even stranger for them.*