The Vikings returned rested from their bye, but a 21-13 loss against the Bears at Chicago's Soldier Field will leave them restless Sunday night.
Minnesota scored the first 10 points of the game and the final three, but the offense struggled to build continuity during the middle stretch, and the defense struggled to get Chicago's offense off the newly installed turf.
Despite an offensive effort by Chicago that gained 468 yards, compared to 243 by Minnesota, the Vikings had a chance to record their third straight fourth-quarter comeback victory.
Minnesota forced a punt by Chicago just before the two-minute warning to take the ball at its on 34. Teddy Bridgewater was sacked on the first play, but followed with a 21-yard pass to Charles Johnson, and short passes to Jerick McKinnon and Johnson to move the ball to the Chicago 29.
With the game clock at Soldier Field not working during the final drive (and at other parts of the game), Bridgewater took a deep shot to Johnson on second-and-3. He threw into double coverage in the end zone, and Bears safety Ryan Mundy picked off the pass to seal the game with 42 seconds left.
The loss undid interceptions by Xavier Rhodes (the first of his career) and a 52-yard interception return by Harrison Smith that gave the Vikings the ball at the Bears 27 in the third quarter. Chicago held Minnesota to a 38-yard field goal attempt by Blair Walsh that sailed wide right after Smith's fourth interception of the season.
Earlier in the game, Minnesota turned trickery into a touchdown on its second possession. Facing fourth-and-2 from their own 45, the Vikings lined up in a punt formation but snapped the ball to up man Adam Thielen, who handed the ball off to Andrew Sendejo, and the special teams standout ran for a 48-yard gain.
Bridgewater, who finished 18-of-28 for 158 yards, found a wide open Rhett Ellison for a 7-yard touchdown on the following play.
The Vikings got on the board first with a 50-yard field goal by Walsh. It was Walsh's fourth of the season from that distance or longer capped a drive that was highlighted by a 23-yard run by McKinnon after the Bears committed a penalty to extend the Vikings first possession.
Walsh is now 16-for-20 on field goals from 50 or more yards since his 2012 rookie season, which is the most in the NFL in that span.
Despite allowing conversions of third-and-5 and third-and-12, Minnesota forced Chicago to settle for a 47-yard field goal attempt on its first possession, but Robbie Gould's kick was wide right. The possession included a play that was originally called an incomplete pass, but was ruled as a fumble by Cutler forced by Brian Robison. Officials, however, determined that no Vikings player recovered the ball immediately, so the Bears kept possession but were moved back by an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Cutler.
The Bears QB, however, recovered composure and kept completing passes. He finished 31-of-43 passing for 330 yards and had touchdowns of 27 yards to Alshon Jeffery (11 catches for 135 yards), and of 44 yards and 4 yards to Brandon Marshall (seven catches for 90 yards).