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Vikings Take Big Hit with Loss to Bears

MINNEAPOLIS — The Vikings season can be boiled down to getting close but not close enough.

Minnesota twice failed to convert fourth-and-1s on Sunday against Chicago.

The first time, the Vikings didn't have to go for it and first sent on the punting unit in the second quarter. The Bears stuffed Dalvin Cook for no gain.

The second time, it was do or virtually die time with two minutes remaining in the game. Chicago's Brent Urban pressured Kirk Cousins, forcing the quarterback to backpedal and launch a fadeaway pass toward Tyler Conklin that fell incomplete.

The Bears kicked field goals after each possession that began in Vikings territory, which was good for the winning 6-point margin in a 33-27 victory that gives Chicago a chance at the NFC Playoffs.

The loss doesn't technically eliminate Minnesota with two games to play, but the Vikings chances are razor thin.

Minnesota had struggled to stop Chicago, but rookie Cameron Dantzler intercepted Mitchell Trubisky in the end zone with 2:57 remaining in the game, giving Minnesota the ball at its own 20.

A 3-yard run by Cook was followed with a 6-yard reception by the running back and a run for no gain on third-and-1 that Minnesota hurried to call before the 2-minute warning.

The Vikings had one more chance after a 42-yard field goal by Cairo Santos with 56 seconds remaining.

Minnesota drove to the Chicago 33 with 0:07 left on the clock. Cousins attempted a Hail Mary to the end zone, but it was intercepted by Sherrick McManis.

Cousins finished 24-of-35 passing for 271 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. His passer rating was 98.6 after getting dinged by the desperation pick.

Cook rushed 24 times for 132 yards and a score. It was his eighth 100-yard game of the season.

Justin Jefferson led Minnesota with eight catches for 104 yards, and Conklin added 57 yards on three catches. Adam Thielen scored early, catching his 13th touchdown of the season but was limited to two catches for 11 yards.

Minnesota fell to third place in the NFC North with a 6-8 mark and visits New Orleans on Friday. The Vikings finished the season at 3-5 in games without fans at U.S. Bank Stadium. Minnesota was 23-9 in the first four regular seasons at the venue.

Chicago improved to 7-7 and second in the NFC North thanks to 146 rushing yards and two touchdowns by David Montgomery, who missed the teams' game in Week 10.

Scoring Summary

Q1, 9:01 remaining

Bears 7, Vikings 0

Darnell Mooney catches an 8-yard pass from Mitchell Trubisky (Cairo Santos kicks PAT) [5 plays, 58 yards, 2:07 time of possession]

Toe tap — barely: One play before the touchdown, which involved a nice play-action, Trubisky completed a 24-yard pass to Allen Robinson II down the Bears sideline. Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer challenged that Robinson's left foot didn't touch while he had control, but the call stood after a review. 

Q1, 4:46 remaining

Bears 7, Vikings 7

Adam Thielen catches a 3-yard pass from Kirk Cousins (Dan Bailey kicks PAT) [8 plays, 75 yards, 4:15 time of possession]

Keying the drive: Cousins navigated the pocket to buy time and find Irv Smith, Jr., for a gain of 23 on third-and-2, keying a stretch of three first downs on three plays that moved the ball to the 10.

Q1, 1:16 remaining

Bears 10, Vikings 7

Santos kicks a 42-yard field goal [8 plays, 51 yards, 3:30 time of possession]

Stalled out: Vikings rookie cornerback Cameron Dantzler helped stall the Bears drive, tackling running back David Montgomery after a gain of 2 and limiting a pass to tight end Cole Kmet to a gain of 5.

Q2, 6:46 remaining

Bears 17, Vikings 7

Montgomery rushes for a 1-yard touchdown (Santos kicks PAT) [13 plays, 76 yards, 7:19 time of possession]

Runs, runs, runs: The Bears ran the ball for 11 of 13 plays on the drive that included a 16-yard gain by Mooney to start the possession, a 10-yard gain by Trubisky and runs of 10 and 9 on the first five plays.

Q2, 3:34 remaining

Bears 20, Vikings 7

Santos kicks a 35-yard field goal [6 plays, 17 yards, 2:13 time of possession]

Nice PBU: The Vikings defense held the Bears to a 3-pointer on a possession that began at the Minnesota 34-yard line after a failed run on fourth-and-inches. Linebacker Todd Davis forced the field goal with a diving pass breakup of a throw intended for Montgomery.

Q2, 0:26 remaining

Bears 20, Vikings 10

Bailey kicks a 24-yard field goal [12 plays, 69 yards, 3:08 time of possession]

Unsettling to settle: The Vikings missed out on an opportunity for a touchdown on consecutive throws to the end zone before the field goal. Cousins was pressured and scrambled, allowing Justin Jefferson to free himself from coverage, but the throw was too high for Jefferson to reach. Cousins again escaped pressure and executed a pump fake to create a window to get the ball to Irv Smith, Jr., but the ball bounced away from the tight end.

Q3, 10:54 remaining

Bears 20, Vikings 17

Cook rushes for 1 yard (Bailey kicks PAT) [8 plays, 75 yards, 4:06 time of possession]

Chef's special: Cook carded runs that gained 18 and 11 yards before plodding his way into the end zone for his 15th rushing touchdown of the season.

Q3, 5:30 remaining

Bears 27, Vikings 17

Montgomery rushes for 14 yards (Santos kicks PAT) [11 plays, 75 yards, 5:24 time of possession]

Bang bang: Montgomery finished Chicago's "answer drive" with runs of 11 and 14.

Q3, 2:38 remaining

Bears 27, Vikings 20

Bailey kicks 22-yard field goal (Bailey kicks PAT) [7 plays, 71 yards, 2:52 time of possession]

Q4, 13:33 remaining

Bears 30, Vikings 20

Santos kicks 48-yard field goal [8 plays, 42 yards, 4:05 time of possession]

Another chunk play: Mooney did the brunt of the damage with a 22-yard reception on second-and-7 from the Chicago 41.

Q4, 8:05 remaining

Bears 30, Vikings 27

Tyler Conklin catches a 20-yard pass from Cousins (Bailey kicks PAT) [11 plays, 75 yards, 5:28 time of possession]

Third-and-5s: The Vikings faces third-and-5 three times on the drive, converting the first with a 9-yard pass to Chad Beebe and gaining a new set of downs on a pass interference call against Kindle Vildor on the second play. The third conversion occurred on an impressive pass and even better catch by Jefferson. Cousins rifled the ball slightly behind Jefferson to avoid a defender, and the rookie adjusted to the catch. Conklin showcased his wheels after the catch a play later.

Q4, 0:56 remaining

Bears 33, Vikings 27

Santos kicks a 42-yard field goal [4 plays, 5 yards, 0:58 time of possession]