EAGAN, Minn. – The Vikings (6-7) and Bears (4-9) remain scheduled to meet at 7:15 p.m. (CT) for Monday Night Football at Soldier Field.
It will be the fourth time that Minnesota and Chicago have played on MNF since 2016. The Vikings lost in 2016 but won in 2017 and 2020.
Instead of white jerseys and white pants worn by Minnesota this year, the Vikings will utilize a rare road combination of purple jerseys and white pants worn by the team in 2019 at Soldier Field. Minnesota also used that combo earlier this season at Cincinnati in Week 1.
The game won't be the only NFL action Monday. The NFL announced Friday that the Las Vegas-Cleveland game initially scheduled for Saturday has been moved to 4 p.m. (CT) Monday. It will air on NFL Network before the Vikings-Bears game on ESPN.
The Raiders-Browns was one of three Week 15 games moved by the NFL because of the number of players on a team who have been placed on Reserve/COVID-19.
As for movement with the Vikings-Bears, keep an eye on Justin Jefferson throughout Minnesota's formations.
The Vikings can line Jefferson up in the slot, on the outside and even in the backfield.
Offensive Coordinator Klint Kubiak credited Jefferson's skill set and his mental aptitude to handle playing from so many places while producing.
"We put a lot on him, move him to a lot of different spots," Kubiak said. "He's really taken that challenge and run with it. He studies hard. You've got to move him around because teams are always going to be keying on him."
Jefferson played primarily on the outside as a sophomore and did most of his damage from the slot in 2019. Although he put up 111 catches for 1,540 yards and 18 touchdowns at LSU in 2019, some believe that role could have helped him fall to the Vikings at the 22nd overall spot.
Turns out Minnesota got the best of both, and rather than a seasonal split of locations, Jefferson is making plays all over the field. He has 85 receptions, 1,288 yards and eight scores this season. The use of Jefferson in the backfield and then in motion helped clear a broad avenue for Dalvin Cook on a long run against Pittsburgh in Week 14.
"It's always good to be versatile, being able to be in the slot, being outside. That just helps me out with different cloud coverages, being bracketed, being double teamed," Jefferson said. "Being able to motion, move to different spots allows me to escape the double teams, escape the cloud coverage. Doing that is definitely good for my game, being versatile. Me being able to switch in college from outside to slot definitely helped me out now, just knowing how to run those slot routes and read the coverages, read the zones, especially with the linebackers and safeties."
Here are all the ways to catch the action, a synopsis of the series history and a key topic addressed this week by Kubiak, Assistant Head Coach/Co-Defensive Coordinator Andre Patterson, Co-Defensive Coordinator Adam Zimmer and Special Teams Coordinator Ryan Ficken.
TV: ESPN (ABC affiliate KSTP in the Twin Cities)
Kickoff: 7:15 p.m. (CT)
Play-by-Play: Steve Levy
Analysts: Brian Griese & Louis Riddick
Sideline: Lisa Salters
Because this game is a national broadcast, fans everywhere can watch the game on their iOS mobile devices with the Vikings app or Vikings mobile site (Safari browser only). The Yahoo! Sports app for smartphones and tablets offers another method for viewing live local and prime-time NFL games.
Radio: KFAN (100.3-FM), KTLK (1130-AM) and the five-state Vikings Radio Network
Radio Pregame Show: Hosted by Mike Mussman (5 p.m.)
Play-by-Play: Paul Allen
Analyst: Pete Bercich
Sideline reporters: Greg Coleman and Ben Leber
Play-by-Play: Kevin Harlan
Analyst: Kurt Warner
Minnesota: Sirius 81, XM 226, SXM App 820
Chicago: Sirius 83, XM 225, SXM App 805
National: Sirius 88, XM 88, SXM App 88
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The Vikings have a 61-57-2 record against the Bears, a series that began in Minnesota's Inaugural Game. Fran Tarkenton came off the bench to throw four touchdowns and rushed for another to spark the massive upset.
Except for the strike-shortened 1982 season, the teams have met twice yearly in every regular season. This will be the latest first meeting of a season between the squads in series history.
Kubiak on adding RB Wayne Gallman this week with Alexander Mattison out:
"The good thing is Wayne Gallman has played a lot of football. You always start with the basics, and protection is a main part of it. I think the main thing with a veteran like him is getting him the practice reps that he needs, the walk-through reps that he needs. We've been able to do that for two days in a row now. Very beneficial there. Been pleased with where he is. He's a smart guy and practices hard."
Patterson on extra emphasis the Vikings have placed on trying to improve when defending 2-minute drills:
"We worked on it when we came in on Tuesday. We had another big 2-minute drill on Tuesday: huge film session over all of the 2-minute sessions that we've had so far this season on Tuesday. It comes down to execution, and we've got to find a way to execute in those situations."
Zimmer on dealing with new COVID-19 protocols:
"We''re just trying to adjust as best as we can and adhere to the protocols and things we've had to change. We've had to change meeting rooms; we've had to do a lot of things that we had to do last year. We want to keep the focus on Chicago. We want to not focus on, 'We've got to wear masks all the time, we've got to change locations of practice or meeting rooms or things like that.' As coaches we have to try and keep them on Chicago and prepare like the game is the biggest one of the year, and it is."
Ficken on potential return kickoff opportunities increasing with an outdoor game:
"I get excited seeing that, especially being outdoors, the opportunity for our guys to go out there and make plays. I'm excited for those guys because I know they're champing at the bit. But Soldier Field, as we all know, the elements at that field, they can bring all types. We were out there kicking today with our kickers, just getting the outdoor element, seeing the ball fly off the foot. It was beautiful outside today, no wind or anything. We know that'll be a little bit different in Chicago, but yeah, those situations, any type of kicks, and we've gotta make sure we defend the field and be able to field all those kickoffs and punts and then execute on the coverage phases."