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Game Preview: Bears at Vikings

EAGAN, Minn. — The Minnesota Vikings (8-6-1) will host the Chicago Bears (11-4) in the regular-season finale for both teams at 3:25 p.m. (CT) Sunday.

This is the fourth time in five regular seasons for the Vikings to host the Bears, but this time, there are playoff implications on the line for both teams.

A victory by Minnesota would send the Vikings to the postseason for the third time in four seasons. Chicago already clinched the NFC North and a playoff berth. The Bears can claim the No. 2 seed in the NFC with a win and a loss by the Los Angeles Rams.

The Bears won the first meeting between the teams 25-20 by building a lead early and protecting it late at Soldier Field on Nov. 18.

The Vikings defeated the Lions 27-9 in Detroit in Week 16; the Bears won 14-9 on the road against the 49ers. Minnesota is 5-2 at U.S. Bank Stadium this season and 17-6 in three seasons at the venue. Chicago is 4-3 on the road.

The Vikings defense has allowed 308.2 yards per game, the third-lowest average in the NFL. Minnesota has allowed just 10 touchdown drives when hosting opponents, which is tied with Tennessee for the fewest in the NFL.

Vikings DE Danielle Hunter is tied for third in the NFL with 14.5 sacks, helping power a pass rush that leads the league with 50 sacks this season, which is the highest total for a Vikings team under Head Coach Mike Zimmer.

The past two games mark the second time in the Zimmer era in which the Vikings have scored at least 27 and rushed for more than 100 yards in consecutive games (Dec. 20 and Dec. 27, 2015 vs. Chicago and the New York Giants).

Minnesota's offense ranks 17th in the NFL in total yards per game with an average of 357.7 through 15 games and 16th in scoring with 23.3 points per game.

Vikings QB Kirk Cousins has thrown for 4,166 yards, the seventh-highest total in the NFL, and totaled a 100.4 passer rating, which ranks eighth in the NFL.

Adam Thielen ranks fourth in the NFL with 110 receptions. Thielen's 1,355 receiving yards rank eighth in the NFL, and his nine receiving touchdowns are tied for seventh.

Thielen and Stefon Diggs, who ranks 11th in the NFL with a career-high 94 receptions, are joined by Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster as the only receiver duos in the NFL to rank in the top 15 in catches this season.

For the first time in his career, Dalvin Cook has recorded 100 yards from scrimmage in back-to-back games. He has totaled 271 scrimmage yards (209 rushing, 62 receiving) in the past two games.

TELEVISION:

FOX (KMSP FOX 9 in Minneapolis/St. Paul)

Play-by-Play: Joe Buck

Analyst: Troy Aikman

Sideline Reporter: Erin Andrews

LOCAL RADIO:

KFAN-FM 100.3/KTLK-AM 1130

Play-by-Play: Paul Allen

Analyst: Pete Bercich

Sideline Reporters: Greg Coleman and Ben Leber

Pre-Game Show: Mike Mussman – 1 p.m. (CT)

KFAN and KTLK serve as the flagship stations for the five-state Vikings Radio Network.

NATIONAL RADIO

ESPN Radio

Play-by-play: Jason Benetti

Analyst: Bill Polian

Sideline Reporter: Dianna Russini

SATELLITE RADIO

Sirius: 134 (CHI); 113 or Streaming 819 (MIN)

XM: 381 (CHI); 231 or Streaming 819 (MIN)

NORSE NOTES

With a team-record 10 sacks vs. Detroit (Nov. 4) and 9.0 sacks vs. Miami (Dec. 16), the Vikings became the second team since 1990 and the seventh since the 1970 merger to register 9.0-plus sacks in multiple games in a single season.

Adam Thielen has totaled nine games with at least 100 receiving yards, topping the Vikings record of eight set by Randy Moss (2000 and 2003), for the most games in a single season.

The Vikings defense has allowed 370 total passing yards in the past three games (123.3 per game), 87 fewer than the next closest defense (Los Angeles Chargers, 457).

TE Kyle Rudolph, who has started a league-leading (among TEs) 63 consecutive games, has caught 60 passes for 615 yards for the second-highest totals in his career, trailing his 2016 season when he caught 83 passes for 840 yards.

With one passing touchdown in Week 17, QB Kirk Cousins would join Warren Moon (1995), Daunte Culpepper (2004) and Brett Favre (2009) as the only quarterbacks in team history to pass for at least 4,000 yards and throw for 30-plus touchdowns in a single season.

Thielen needs one touchdown, and WR Stefon Diggs needs six catches and two touchdowns to become the first receiver teammates in NFL history to each have at least 100 catches and 10 touchdowns in the same season. Colts WR Reggie Wayne and TE Dallas Clark in 2009 are the only teammates to accomplish the feat.

The Vikings defense has held opponents to a 28.2-percent conversion rate on third downs, the best in the NFL.

The Vikings have allowed only 25 TD drives in 2018, the fewest in the NFL. The Vikings allowed the fewest touchdown drives (23) in the NFL last season.

STAT OF THE WEEK

With an 8-6-1 record, the Vikings have secured their third winning season with Zimmer at the helm, moving him into fourth all-time in team history among all head coaches.

Winning seasons, Vikings head coaches

1. Bud Grant, 12 (1967-83, '85)

2. Dennis Green, 8 (1992-2001)

3. Jerry Burns, 4 (1986-91)

4. Mike Zimmer, 3 (2014-18)

VIKINGS-BEARS CONNECTIONS

Vikings GM Rick Spielman served as the Bears Director of Pro Personnel from 1997-99. Vikings Assistant General Manager George Paton also served on the Bears staff alongside Spielman.

Vikings G Tom Compton played for the Bears during the 2017 season, appearing in 17 games with five starts.

Vikings Head Athletic Trainer Eric Sugarman interned with the Bears athletic training staff from 1993-95 and served as the Bears Assistant Athletic Trainer from 1997-99.

Vikings Assistant Athletic Trainer Rob Roche was a training camp intern for the Bears from 1998-99.

Vikings Assistant Athletic Trainer/Physical Therapist David Jantzi is a former athletic trainer for the Chicago Bears.

Vikings College Scout/Regional Pat Roberts interned with the Bears in 1998. From 1999-2003, he was the Bears Northeast Area Scout before moving to the Southeast Area in 2004.

Bears G Bryan Witzmann had a brief stint with the Vikings early in the 2018 season.

Local Connections

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer was born in Peoria, Illinois, and attended Lockport Township High School in suburban Chicago. Zimmer played QB and later LB at Illinois State (1974-77).

Vikings CB Trae Waynes is a native of Kenosha, Wisconsin, which is located 65 miles north of Chicago.

Vikings WR Chad Beebe attended Aurora Christian HS in Aurora, Illinois, prior to attending Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois.

Bears DL coach Jay Rodgers was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, while his father, Randy, worked at Inver Hills Community College in Inver Grove Heights.

Vikings Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer coached special teams at Northern Illinois (2000-01).

Vikings Assistant Athletic Trainer Rob Roche earned his degree at University of Illinois.

Vikings Ring of Honor member and College Scout/Regional Scott Studwell played LB for University of Illinois.

College Connections

Bears DT Eddie Goldman was teammates with Vikings CB Xavier Rhodes at Florida State. Goldman was also a teammate with Vikings RB Dalvin Cook for the 2014 season at FSU.

Vikings G Danny Isidora (2012-16) was teammates at Miami with Bears S Deon Bush (2012-15) and P Pat O'Donnell (2013).

Vikings CB Trae Waynes and Bears TE Dion Sims were teammates at Michigan State for the 2012 season.

Bears OL James Daniels and Vikings DT Jaleel Johnson were teammates at Iowa from 2015-16.

VIKINGS TOP PERFORMERS VS. BEARS

Stefon Diggs: 6 games, 37 receptions, 421 yards, 6 touchdowns

Latavius Murray: 4 games, 51 rushes, 196 yards, 2 TDs

Kyle Rudolph: 12 games, 42 receptions, 384 yards, 4 TDs

Danielle Hunter: 7 games, 24 tackles, 3.0 sacks, 8 TFL, 6 QB hits

Harrison Smith: 11 games, 60 tackles, 4 TFL, 4 INTs, 6 PBUs, 56-yard INT return TD

VIKINGS BIG DAYS VS. BEARS

S Anthony Harris recorded his first multi-interception game of his career in the last meeting at Chicago (Nov. 18, 2018).

S Harrison Smith scored his second NFL touchdown as he returned an interception 56 yards vs. Chicago. (Dec. 9, 2012). Smith has four career interceptions against the Bears.

RB Latavius Murray rushed for 111 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries vs. Chicago (Dec. 31, 2017).

TE Kyle Rudolph set career highs in receptions (11) and had 117 receiving yards vs. Chicago (Jan. 1, 2017) to cap the 2016 season.

DE Danielle Hunter had 1.5 sacks vs. Chicago (Dec. 20, 2015), his first game with more than one sack. Hunter has 3.0 sacks in seven career games against the Bears.

CB Marcus Sherels returned a punt 65 yards for a touchdown at Chicago (Nov. 1, 2015) for his third career PR touchdown. He has since added two more, giving him a team-record five career PR touchdowns.

WR Stefon Diggs had 13 receptions for 126 yards and a touchdown at Chicago (Nov. 18, 2018). Diggs has caught at least one touchdown in five of six career games against the Bears.

WR Adam Thielen scored his first career offensive touchdown on a 44-yard catch vs. Chicago (Dec. 28, 2014) and finished with three receptions for 68 yards.

VIKINGS-BEARS SERIES NOTES

The Vikings are 60-53-2 all-time against the Bears, which includes one postseason meeting that was won by Chicago Jan. 1, 1995.

The Vikings have claimed the past six games in Minnesota.

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