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Game Preview: Bears at Vikings

The Minnesota Vikings (7-8) take on the Chicago Bears (3-12) at U.S. Bank Stadium with kickoff scheduled for noon CT. The Bears won the 1st meeting earlier this season at Chicago, 20-10, in Week 8. Minnesota is coming off a 38-25 road loss against Green Bay while Chicago dropped a home contest to Washington, 41-21.

The Vikings defense, which ranks 2nd in the NFL allowing 314.3 yards per game, is also ranked 8th in points allowed per game (19.8). 2nd-year DE Danielle Hunter leads all NFL DEs with 12.0 sacks while veteran DEs Everson Griffen (8.0) and Brian Robison (7.0) are 2nd and 3rd on the team. The Vikings are the only team in the NFL to have 3 DEs with 7+ sacks this season.

QB Sam Bradford, who is 7th in the NFL with a career-high 98.3 passer rating, has thrown 17 TDs and 4 INTs on 370-of-519 passing (71.3%, 1st in NFL). WR Stefon Diggs, TE Kyle Rudolph and WR Adam Thielen have all had career years, setting new career bests in receptions and receiving yards this season. WR Cordarrelle Patterson, who leads the NFL in kick return yards (757) and kick return average (31.5), has also set a new career high with 51 receptions.

BROADCAST COVERAGE

NATIONAL TELEVISION: FOX (Channel 9 in the Twin Cities); Play-by-Play: Dick Stockton; Analyst: David Diehl; Sideline Reporter: Kristina Pink

LOCAL RADIO: KFAN-FM 100.3/KTLK-AM 1130

Play-by-Play: Paul Allen; Analyst: Pete Bercich

Sideline Reporter: Greg Coleman and Ben Leber

Pre-Game Show: Mike Mussman – 10 a.m. CT

KFAN and KTLK serve as the flagship stations for the 72-station, 5-state Vikings Radio Network.

NORSEMAN NOTABLES

· In 14 starts in 2016, QB Sam Bradford has 7 games with a passer rating over 100, setting a career high. 1 more such game will tie Bradford for 2nd in team history.

· The Vikings defensive line has combined for 32.0 sacks this season, the highest total in the NFL. The Vikings are the only team in the NFL to have 3 DEs with 7.0+ sacks this season - Danielle Hunter (12.0), Everson Griffen (8.0) and Brian Robison (7.0).

· Danielle Hunter, who is the 2nd-youngest player on the Vikings roster behind Laquon Treadwell, leads NFL in sacks among all DEs. Hunter also has the 2nd-most sacks among all 2nd-year players since entering the league with 18.0 trailing only Vic Beasley (18.5).

· TE Kyle Rudolph is 2nd in the NFC in receptions among TEs (Greg Olsen, 77) with a career-high 72. Rudolph also ranks 3rd among NFC TEs in yards with 723 and tied for 2nd in TDs with 6.

· The Vikings have thrown 4 INTs on 554 passing attempts (0.7%) in 2016, trailing only the Patriots, who have thrown 2 INTs on 516 passing attempts (0.4%).

· Vikings WR Adam Thielen is 40 receiving yards shy of the 1,000-yard mark. Sindey Rice (1,312 in '09) was the last Viking to surpass 1,000 receiving yards in a season.

· DT Linval Joseph has a career-high 93 tackles, the most by a Vikings DT since Kevin Williams totaled 98 in 2004.

· WR Cordarrelle Patterson, who is leading the NFL with a 31.5 kick return average, is on pace to lead the NFL in KR average for an NFL-record 3rd time in his career.

· TE Kyle Rudolph is 8 receptions shy of breaking Joe Senser's franchise record for receptions in a season by a TE. Rudolph currently has a career high 72 receptions while Senser had 79 catches in 1981.

· The Vikings had 4 players named to the 2017 Pro Bowl - DE Everson Griffen (2nd), RS Cordarrelle Patterson (2nd), CB Xavier Rhodes (1st) and S Harrison Smith (2nd).

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.

· Bears TE MyCole Pruitt was a 5th-round pick by the Vikings in the 2015 NFL Draft and spent the 2015 and 2016 seasons with the Vikings until Chicago signed him off Minnesota's practice squad on Dec. 14.V

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

· Vikings CB Captain Munnerlyn was drafted by the Panthers while Bears HC John Fox was in the same role in Carolina.

· Bears Offensive Coordinator Dowell Loggains and QBs Coach Dave Ragone coached on the same staff as Vikings DBs Coach Jerry Gray and Assistant DBs Coach Jonathan Gannon with the Tennessee Titans.

· Vikings LBs Coach Adam Zimmer and Bears WRs Coach Curtis Johnson served on the same staff with the New Orleans Saints from 2006-09.

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 (74-77).

· Bears ST coordinator Jeff Rodgers and DL Coach Jay Rodgers were both born in St. Paul, Minnesota while their father, Randy, worked at Inver Hills Community College in Inver Grove Heights, MN.

· Vikings ST 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 LB Christian Jones and DT Eddie Goldman (IR) were teammates with Vikings CB Xavier Rhodes at Florida State.

· Bears RB Jeremy Langford played with Vikings CB Trae Waynes at Michigan State from 2012-14.

· Vikings LB Audie Cole and Bears LB Willie Young and C Ted Larsen played together at North Carolina State from 2008-09.

· Vikings G Alex Boone played at Ohio State with Bears OL Mike Adams (IR) in 2008.

· Bears QB Matt Barkley was teammates at Southern California with Vikings DE Everson Griffen in 2009.

VIKINGS BIG DAYS VS. BEARS

  • DE Brian Robison recovered a fumble and returned it 61 yards for a TD on 9/15/13. The play was Robison's first career TD and his longest fumble recovery return. Robison has sacked 3 different Bears QBs in his 5.5 sacks against Chicago - Jay Cutler, Josh McCown and Kyle Orton.
  • S Harrison Smith scored his 2nd NFL TD as he intercepted and returned a Jay Cutler pass 56 yards (12/9/12). Smith has intercepted Jay Cutler every season except 2015 since entering the NFL in 2012 totaling 3 career INTs off Cutler.
  • RB Jerick McKinnon scored his 1st career TD in the Vikings last contest vs. Chicago (12/20/15) on a 17-yard pass. McKinnon finished the game with 4 receptions for a career-high 76 receiving yards.
  • DE Danielle Hunter had 1.5 sacks vs. Chicago (12/20/15), his 1st game with more than 1 sack in his short career. Hunter has 2.5 sacks in 3 career games against the Bears.
  • CB Marcus Sherels returned a punt 65 yards for a TD at Chicago (11/1/15) last season. The PR TD was Sherels' 3rd career and has since added 2 more giving him a team record 5 career PR TDs.
  • WR Stefon Diggs had 6 receptions for 95 yards, including a game-tying 40-yard TD catch with 2 minutes remaining at Chicago (11/1/15). Diggs recorded his 1st and only career game with multiple TDs vs. Chicago (12/20/15).
  • WR Adam Thielen scored his 1st career offensive TD on a 44-yard catch vs. Chicago (12/28/15) and finished with 3 receptions for 68 yards.
  • KR Cordarrelle Patterson returned the opening kick of the Week 2 matchup of the 2013 season 105 yards for a TD. Patterson also scored his 1st NFL rushing TD against Chicago, a 33-yard run (12/1/13).
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