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Game Preview: Vikings at Bears

The Minnesota Vikings (5-1) travel for the second straight week to play the Chicago Bears (1-6) in Week 8. Minnesota is searching for its second win on Monday Night Footballthis season, a feat it hasn't accomplished since 1999. The Vikings lost 21-10 in Week 7 at Philadelphia, their first regular-season loss since Dec. 10, 2015, at Arizona. Minnesota is powered by a defense that is tied for first in the NFL in points allowed, giving up 14.0 points per game, and an offensive unit that hadn't committed a turnover until last week, helping the team lead the NFL with a plus-11 turnover margin.

The Vikings defense, which ranks first in the NFL in yards-per-game allowed (279.5), has 16 takeaways (nine interceptions, seven fumble recoveries), the most in the NFL. The Vikings defense has held opponents to a league-low 63.7 passer rating. Minnesota is the only team in the NFL to have four players with three-plus sacks — DE Everson Griffen (4.0), DE Danielle Hunter (4.0), DE Brian Robison (4.0) and DT Linval Joseph (3.0). Minnesota is also one of four teams (ARI, NYG, OAK) to have thre players with multiple interceptions. CB Xavier Rhodes, S Andrew Sendejo and CB Trae Waynes have all set a new a career high with two interceptions in 2016.

Vikings QB Sam Bradford, who has started five games (4-1) since being acquired via trade from Philadelphia on Sept. 3, is eighth in the NFL with a 100.3 passer rating. Bradford has thrown seven touchdowns seven touchdowns and one interception on 112-of-166 passing (67.5 percent, eighth in NFL). WR Cordarrelle Patterson has caught 11 passes for 106 yards and two touchdowns in the past two games, marking the first time since Dec. 15, 2013, he has caught TD passes in consecutive games.


NATIONAL TELEVISION: ESPN; Play-by-Play: Sean McDonough; Analyst: Jon Gruden; Sideline: Lisa Salters

NATIONAL RADIO: WESTWOOD ONE SPORTS; Play-by-Play: Kevin Harlan; Analyst: Kurt Warner; Sideline Reporter: Hub Arkush


Play-by-Play: Paul Allen; Analyst: Pete Bercich; Sideline Reporters: Greg Coleman and Ben Leber

Pre-Game Show: Mike Mussman – 5:30 p.m. CT

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


  • The Vikings defense has allowed 84 points through the first six games, the lowest mark for the franchise since allowing 84 points through six games in 1988.
  • CB Xavier Rhodes has a career-high two interceptions this season and is one of two players (Yannick Ngakoue, JAX) to have an interception, forced fumble and tackle for loss in the same game in 2016 after totaling four tackles, one TFL, one forced fumble, an interception and two passes defensed at Philadelphia (10/23).
  • CB Marcus Sherels leads the NFL with two punt return touchdowns in 2016 and is third with an average of 14.6 yards on punt returns. Sherels is the only Viking in team history to return two punts for touchdowns in a single season.
  • As a unit, the Vikings defensive linemen have combined for 17.0 sacks (tied for first in NFL), five forced fumbles (tied for second in NFL), 17 TFLs (tied for third in NFL), one interception (tied for first in NFL) and one safety (tied for second in NFL).
  • On passing attempts over 20 yards, the Vikings defense has held opponents to 5-of-22 passing, zero touchdowns and recorded four interceptions for an NFL-low passer rating of 14.6.
  • After totaling 26 catches for 291 yards and three touchdowns through six games, TE Kyle Rudolph moved into second for receptions by a tight end in team history with 208. Rudolph, who caught his 25th career touchdown in Week 4, is just three touchdowns shy of matching Steve Jordan's Vikings team record for touchdowns by a tight end with 28.
  • WR Adam Thielen recorded his first career 100-yard receiving game vs. Houston (10/9), posting career highs in catches (seven) and yards (127) while hauling in his third career TD.
  • The Vikings have allowed only 18 completions for third-down conversions (18/61, 29.5 percent) in 2016, the lowest in the NFL.
  • The Vikings defense has held opponents to 3.9 yards per play on first downs in 2016, the lowest in the NFL. 
  • With four total takeaways (two interceptions, two fumble recoveries) S Andrew Sendejo is tied for second-most among all players in the NFL. Sendejo's two interceptions are also tied for second among all safeties this season.
  • DE Danielle Hunter, who was second in the NFL among all rookies with 6.0 sacks last season, has 4.0 sacks through the first six games. Hunter, who will turn 22 Saturday, is still the second-youngest player on the Vikings roster (Laquon Treadwell).


· 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 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.


· 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.


· Bears LB Christian Jones and DT Eddie Goldman were teammates with Vikings CB Xavier Rhodes at Florida State.

· Bears LB Lamin Barrow played at LSU with Vikings DE Danielle Hunter.

· 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 in 2008.


  • 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.
  • K Blair Walsh has connected on 2 game-winning FGs vs. the Bears - a 34-yarder to give the Vikings a 23-20 win in OT vs. Chicago (12/1/13) and a 40-yarder as time expired to win at Chicago (11/1/15), 23-20, for the 1st time since 2007.
  • DE Danielle Hunter had 1.5 sacks vs. Chicago (12/20/15), his only game with more than 1 sack in his short career. Hunter has 2.5 sacks in 2 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) in their last matchup.
  • 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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