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Throwin' it Back to '98: Special Teams Delivers Spark at Soldier Field

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This season, the Vikings are commemorating the 20thanniversary of the 1998 team.

Minnesota went 15-1 during the 1998 regular season, during which they set a then-NFL scoring record with 556 points. Randy Moss came on the scene and caught 17 touchdown passes, the most-ever by a rookie. He combined with Cris Carter and Jake Reed to form "Three Deep."

For each week of the 2018 regular season, we'll throw it back to 1998 and take a look at each of the Vikings 16 games.

Today is the anniversary of the Vikings defeating the Bears 31-28 at Soldier Field.

Click here for the first recap in this series.

Click here for the second recap in this series.

Click here for the third recap in this series.

Week 4: Vikings 31, Bears 28

Weather: Wind W 14 mph | Temp: 74 degrees Fahrenheit

Paid Attendance: 57,783 | Kickoff: 3:15 p.m. (CT) | Time of game: 3:04

MIN 7 3 14 7 | 31

CHI 7 14 0 7 | 28

Even in 1998, when the Vikings finished with a 15-1 mark and the Bears ended the campaign with a 4-12 showing, Minnesota struggled in Chicago.

A 67-yard touchdown from Randall Cunningham to Robert Smith put the Vikings on the scoreboard first, but the Bears took a 21-10 lead into the locker room.

A 53-yard punt return by David Palmer in the third quarter set up a quick touchdown drive that ended with a 19-yard pass from Cunningham to Andrew Glover.

Corey Fuller ended Chicago's next possession by intercepting Erik Kramer at the Minnesota 6, and the Vikings followed with a 35-yard touchdown from Cunningham to Carter four plays later to give the Vikings a 24-21 lead.

Cunningham added a 44-yard touchdown to Moss for a 10-point lead with 10:06 left in the fourth quarter.

Kramer completed a 19-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Wetnight with 1:57 remaining, but Chicago's onside kick attempt was unsuccessful.

Cunningham completed 16 of 25 passes but threw for 275 yards and four touchdowns for a passer rating of 140.8. Cunningham's day also included a rare pass that he caught but lost 3 yards in the process.

Smith led the Vikings with two receptions for 83 yards and totaled 76 rushing yards on 19 carries.

Kramer completed 25 of 39 passes for 372 yards with four touchdowns and the interception by Fuller for a passer rating of 118.8.

John Randle, who started at defensive end for the second consecutive week, recorded the Vikings lone sack of Kramer to end the first half. The takedown occurred just one play after Chicago took a 21-10 lead with 28 seconds left in the first half and successfully executed an onside kick.

The Vikings improved to 4-0, and the Bears fell to 0-4.

Headline: Vikings Believe, and Win; Bears Don't (Star Tribune | Sept. 28, 1998)

Quotable

"When we scored that first touchdown in the second half, you could see a little doubt creeping into their eyes."

— Vikings T Todd Steussie

Play of the game

Down by 11 early in the third quarter, the Vikings needed a boost, and Palmer's 53-yard punt return provided the pop. The Vikings scored five plays later to begin to claim momentum.

Palmer returned to Minnesota during the 1998 team reunion during Week 1, and Vikings.com asked him to recall the play.

"I had a pretty good game there," Palmer said. "Denny Green even gave me the game ball. The game was going pretty slow. It was pretty tight, and we needed a spark. I was that spark at that moment that we needed to push us to get over the edge. … That was all we needed to get our offense and defense ready to go."

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