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Game Preview: Vikings vs. Bears

Look back at photos over the course of time featuring games between the Vikings and the Bears.

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The Minnesota Vikings (12-3) will host the Chicago Bears (5-10) in the regular-season finale at noon (CT) Sunday. The Vikings completed the season sweep over the Packers after recording their first shutout since 1993 with a 16-0 win at Lambeau Field in Week 16. The Bears are coming off a 20-3 home win against the Cleveland Browns in Week 16. The NFC North division championship is the Vikings second in the past three seasons. The Vikings own a 6-1 home record, and the Bears hold a 2-5 mark on the road in 2017. The Vikings 12-3 record is the best start through 15 games for Minnesota since starting 14-1 in 1998.

The Vikings defense has held opponents to 280.9 yards per game (first in the NFL) and 16.1 points per game (first in the NFL). The Vikings defense has limited opponents to 87.1 rushing yards per game (second in the NFL) and 3.7 yards per rush (sixth in the NFL). Minnesota has stifled opponents to 193.8 passing yards per game, second in the NFL, making them the only defense in the NFL to rank in the top three in both rushing yards per game and passing yards per game.

DE Everson Griffen is fourth in the NFL with a career-high 13 sacks this season, the third time in his career he has reached double digits (12 in 2014, 10.5 in 2015). LB Eric Kendricks, who has led the Vikings in tackles each of his first two seasons, is leading the Vikings with 126 tackles (coaches' stats) and scored his second career touchdown two weeks ago with his second career interception-return touchdown.

The Vikings offense, which ranks 10th in the NFL in yards per game (358.9), has been led by the consistent play from WR Adam Thielen, who is fifth in the NFL with 1,215 receiving yards and tied for seventh in the NFL with 85 receptions, and QB Case Keenum, who has completed 67.3 percent of his passes (fourth in NFL), and has stepped in to start 13 games, posting a 10-3 record. Keenum has compiled 21 touchdowns, seven interceptions and a career-best 98.1 passer rating. RBs Jerick McKinnonand Latavius Murray have filled the void left by rookie starter RB *Dalvin Cook helping the Vikings running backs group total 2,297 yards from scrimmage this season, the fifth-highest total among all RB groups in 2017.*

NATIONAL TELEVISION: FOX

Play-by-Play:Kevin Burkhardt

Analyst: Charles Davis

Sideline:Pam Oliver

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 – 10 a.m. CT

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

NORSEMAN NOTABLES

The Vikings defense has held opponents to a third-down conversion rate of 26.3 percent (50/190), the best mark in the NFL. The offense has converted 43.8 percent (89/203) of its third downs, fourth in the NFL.

WR Adam Thielenis second in the NFL in third-down receptions in the NFL (32), 24 of which have converted first downs, which ranks second in the NFL.

After going 20-of-23 passing (87.0 percent) vs. Cincinnati (12/17), QB Case Keenum set a new career high in completion percentage and had the second-best mark in franchise history behind Brett Favre (88.0 percent vs. Seattle, 11/22/09).

The Vikings offense is tied for third in the NFL with 66 plays of 20-plus yards, 14 of which have come on the ground, tied for fourth-most in the NFL behind the Eagles (18), Saints (17) and Bills (16).

The Vikings have 12 scoring drives of 80-plus yards in 2017, eight more than they totaled in all of 2016.

The Vikings have allowed only 25 sacks this season, tied for the seventh-fewest in the NFL and have had five games without allowing a sack, tying a franchise record for most in a single season.

S Harrison Smith is the only player in the NFL with 70-plus tackles, 1.0 or more sacks and at least five interceptions in 2017. Smith recorded his first career multi-interception game last week at Green Bay, grabbing two INTs.

The Vikings rush defense has allowed only 19 runs of 10-plus yards in 2017, the fewest in the NFL. Denver is second, having allowed 27 such runs.

The Vikings defense has held opponents to one conversion on third downs in three games this season, the most in the NFL (Arizona and Miami are second with two such games). The Vikings held Tampa Bay to 1-for-6,

Atlanta to 1-for-10 and the Bengals to 1-for-13 on third downs.

STAT OF THE WEEK

The Vikings run defense in 2017 is the best in the league at preventing big plays. Minnesota leads the NFL, having allowed only 19 runs of 10 or more yards this season, which is on pace to set one of best marks since 1991.

10-plus yard runs allowed / NFL since 1991

Rk) Team, Season  10 yd runs allowed

1) Minnesota Vikings, 2017, 19

2) San Francisco 49ers, 1995, 20

3) Pittsburgh Steelers, 2008, 22

4t) Baltimore Ravens, 2007, 23

4t) Seattle Seahawks, 2015, 23

VIKINGS-BEARS CONNECTIONS

Vikings GM Rick Spielman served as the Bears Director of Pro Personnel from 1997-99. Vikings Assistant General Manager George Patonalso 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 Rochewas 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 Robertsinterned with the Bears in 1998 and from 1999-2003, he was the Bears Northeast Area Scout before moving to the Southeast Area in 2004.

Bears Offensive Coordinator Dowell Loggains and quarterbacks coach Dave Ragonecoached on the same staff as Vikings defensive backs coach Jerry Gray and assistant DBs coach *Jonathan Gannon with the Tennessee Titans.

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).

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

Bears Special Teams Coordinator Jeff Rodgersand defensive line coach** ay Rodgers *were both born in St. Paul, Minnesota while their 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 Studwellplayed LB for University of Illinois.

COLLEGE CONNECTIONS

Bears LB Christian Jones and DT Eddie Goldman were 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.

Monday's game features four former Miami Hurricanes: Vikings WR Stacey Coley (2013-16), Vikings G Danny Isidora (2012-16), Bears S Deon Bush (2012-15) and Bears P Pat O'Donnell (2013).

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

BIG DAYS

RB Jerick McKinnon totaled 146 yards from scrimmage (95 rushing, 51 receiving), the second most in his career, in the last meeting with the Bears (10/9/17). McKinnon also scored on a 58-yard run.

DE Brian Robison recovered a fumble and returned it 61 yards for a touchdown on 9/15/13. The play was Robison's first career touchdown and his longest fumble recovery return. Robison has sacked four different Bears QBs in his 6.0 total sacks against Chicago: David Fales, Jay Cutler, Josh McCown & Kyle Orton.

S Harrison Smith scored his second NFL touchdown as he returned an interception 56 yards vs. Chicago (12/9/12). Smith has four career interceptions against the Bears.

TE Kyle Rudolph set career highs in receptions (11) and receiving yards (117) vs. Chicago (1/1/17) last season.

DE Danielle Hunterhad 1.5 sacks vs. Chicago (12/20/15), his first game with more than 1 sack in his short career. Hunter has 3.0 sacks in five career games against the Bears.

CB Marcus Sherelsreturned a punt 65 yards for a touchdown at Chicago (11/1/15) for his third career punt return touchdown. He has since added two more, giving him a team-record five career punt return touchdowns.

WR Stefon Diggshad six receptions for 95 yards, including a game-tying 40-yard touchdown catch with two minutes remaining at Chicago (11/1/15). Diggs also recorded his first of three career games with multiple touchdowns vs. Chicago (12/20/15).

WR Adam Thielenscored his first career offensive touchdown on a 44-yard catch vs. Chicago (12/28/15) and finished with three receptions for 68 yards.

Stefon Diggs: 4 games, 18 receptions, 230 yards, 4 TDs

Danielle Hunter: 4 games, 14 tackles, 3.0 sacks, 5 TFL, 6 QB hurries

Harrison Smith: 9 games, 46 tackles, 2 TFL, 4 INTs, 5 PD, 56-yard INT TD

Brian Robison: 21 games, 31 tackles, 6.0 sacks, 3 FFs, 4 TFL, 15 QB hits

Kyle Rudolph: 12 games, 39 receptions, 368 yards, 4 TDs

SERIES INFO

Record vs. Bears: Vikings 59-52-2

Last regular season game: Vikings 20, Bears 17 (2017)

Vikings largest winning margin: 31; Vikings 31, Bears 0 (1969)

Bears largest winning margin: 31, Twice; (1984 & 1989)

Current series streak: Vikings 2

Vikings longest win streak: 8, (1972-76)

Bears longest win streak: 6, Twice; (1983-86) (2009-2012)

Most Points, Vikings: 48, (1998)

Most Points, Bears: 52, (1961)

Most Combined Points: 89; Bears 48, Vikings 41(2008)

Fewest Points, Vikings: 0, Twice; (1962 & 1986)

Fewest Points,  Bears: 0, Twice; (1969 & 1974)

Fewest Combined Points: 13; Bears 13, Vikings 0 (1962)

SERIES NOTES

The Vikings and Bears have played 113 times with Minnesota holding a 59-52-2 series record.

The Vikings last swept the season series with the Bears in 2015 and have done so two other times since 2000 (2000, 2007).

The Vikings and Bears have played five overtime games in series history, with Minnesota holding a 4-1 advantage in those games.

A WIN WOULD...

Give the Vikings a bye for the Wild Card weekend.

Improve the Vikings record to 7-1 at U.S. Bank Stadium 2017.

Move Mike Zimmer's record as a head coach to 39-26 and give him his second career season sweep over the Bears.

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