EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The Vikings are on pace to have more completions than rush attempts for the first time in franchise history.
The Vikings (7-8) will close out the regular season by hosting the Bears (3-12) at U.S. Bank Stadium at noon (CT) Sunday and enter the game with 389 completions against 352 rush attempts.
Minnesota is one of seven NFL teams, along with Baltimore, Detroit, Green Bay, New Orleans, New York Giants and Washington, with more completions than rush attempts in 2016.
In spite of cycling through quarterbacks this season, Chicago and Cleveland also have close ratios. The Bears have 334 completions and 343 rush attempts, and the Browns have 309 completions and 317 rush attempts.
Minnesota's reliance on and accuracy in the passing game this season has positioned several Vikings within reach of team milestones entering Week 17.
Kyle Rudolph has completed 370 of his 519 attempts this season, a rate of 71.3 percent. He can break Drew Brees' NFL record of 71.2 in 2011 and is well positioned to break Daunte Culpepper's franchise record for completion percentage (69.2) from 2004.
With 10 more completions, Bradford can also top Culpepper's record for completions in the 2004 season (379 of 548).
Shaun Hill completed 19 of 34 passes in his Week 1 start, giving the team a total of 389 receptions this season, compared to 352 rush attempts.
The closest the Vikings have come to having more completions than rush attempts was in 2004 when Minnesota completed 380 passes and rushed 387 times. In 1981, the ratio was 382 to 391, and in 1994, it was 409 to 419.
The Vikings top five leaders in receptions have all set new career highs this season.
Stefon Diggs has 84 receptions for 903 yards and three touchdowns, Kyle Rudolph has 72 receptions for 723 yards with six scores and Adam Thielen has 68 for 960 with five touchdowns. Cordarrelle Patterson has added 51 catches for 414 yards and two scores, and Jerick McKinnon has 40 receptions, including a touchdown, for a total of 234 yards.
Thielen is 40 yards away from becoming the Vikings first receiver with a 1,000-yard season since Sidney Rice in 2009. Diggs, who didn't practice Wednesday or Thursday, is 97 shy of the mark.
View images from the Vikings Thursday, December 29 practice at Winter Park.
The Vikings have had two players total more than 1,000 receiving yards in the same season eight times:
Joe Senser (1,004) and Sammy White (1,001) in 1981
Cris Carter (1,256) and Jake Reed (1,175) in 1994
Cris Carter (1,371) and Jake Reed (1,167) in 1995
Jake Reed (1,320) and Cris Carter (1,163) in 1996
Jake Reed (1,138) and Cris Carter (1,069) in 1997
Randy Moss (1,313) and Cris Carter (1,011) in 1998
Randy Moss (1,413) and Cris Carter (1,241) in 1999
Randy Moss (1,437) and Cris Carter (1,274) in 2000
With eight catches on Sunday, Rudolph would break Senser's record for receptions in a season by a Vikings tight end (79 in 1981). Rudolph also needs one touchdown catch to break Steve Jordan's franchise-best 28 scores by a tight end.
If Rudolph adds 77 yards through the air, he also would give the Vikings their first trio of players with 800 or more yards in a season since Senser, White and Ahmad Rashad (884) in 1981.
Memories from a college rivalry
Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr and Bears quarterback Matt Barkley will share the field Sunday for the first time since November of 2012.
Barr, then a linebacker at UCLA, ended the University of Southern California's college career with a big hit on a blindside blitz. The sack can be seen here.
"I do remember that," Barr said. "I was unblocked, and I hit him pretty hard. He didn't play the rest of the game."
Barkley, who missed USC's final three games with a separated shoulder, harbored no ill will toward his now division rival.
"Good hit. He came untouched off the blindside," Barkley said earlier this week "There wasn't much I could do about it, he just got a clean hit. It's part of football."
Barr recalled the intensity of the rivalry when asked about Barkley on Thursday, saying he was glad his Bruins had the upper hand in his three career games against the Trojans.
"The first year (Barkley) beat us pretty bad, 50-0," Barr said. "But we won the next two."
For the Vikings: Pat Elflein (low back), Stefon Diggs (hip), Adrian Peterson (knee/groin), Laquon Treadwell (ankle) and Andrew Sendejo (knee) did not participate. Charles Johnson (knee), Harrison Smith (ankle), Zach Line (concussion) and Brandon Fusco (concussion) were limited. Nick Easton (elbow) fully participated Thursday.
For the Bears: DB Deon Bush (ankle), LB Leonard Floyd (concussion), LB Pernell McPhee (shoulder), LB Willie Young (knee), RB Bralon Addison (illness) and WR Alshon Jeffery (illness) did not participate. DB Tracy Porter (knee/shoulder), DB Bryce Callahan (hamstring/knee), QB David Fales (right thumb), DB Cre'Von LeBlanc (knee) and T Bobby Massie (toe) were limited. TE Daniel Brown (shoulder) and G Eric Kush (concussion) fully participated.