VIK­INGS (2-2) VS. BEARS (1-3)


USA TODAY Sports Weekly - - WEEK 5 MATCHUP - Latavius Mur­ray Sam Brad­ford About the Bears: Mitchell Tru­bisky Mike Glen­non’s John Fox Matchup to watch: Vik­ings DE Danielle Hunter vs. Bears RT Bobby Massie. Num­ber crunch­ing: 8. 1. Not just Howard: Jor­dan Howard 2. Who’s next? Adam Thie­len mer’s Logg

An­nounc­ers: Mike Tirico, Jon Gru­den, Lisa Sal­ters

About the Vik­ings: Af­ter com­bin­ing for 63 points in two re­sound­ing home vic­to­ries, they were lim­ited to one touch­down and had three give­aways in a loss to the Detroit Lions. Worse, Vik­ings star rookie RB suf­fered a torn left an­te­rior cru­ci­ate lig­a­ment.

sud­denly looms large if Min­nesota’s new­found of­fen­sive bal­ance is to be pre­served. Min­nesota played its best game de­fen­sively de­spite spend­ing more than 36 min­utes on the field. But it was eerily sim­i­lar to 2016, when the unit was over­bur­dened by an ane­mic of­fense. Now the hope has to be QB

(knee), side­lined since Week 2, re­turn­ing to spark the of­fense. No. 2 over­all pick will get his first NFL start in Week 5, mov­ing up the team’s plans for his de­vel­op­ment. The de­ci­sion was sealed af­ter QB ab­hor­rent show­ing in a blowout loss to the Green Bay Pack­ers, in which he com­mit­ted four give­aways, in­clud­ing fum­bling his first snap. Coach would have risked los­ing the room if he had gone back to Glen­non, who had eight turnovers and four touch­downs and hadn’t given Chicago a chance in ei­ther of its blowout losses on the road.

Hunter tal­lied his first two sacks and abused Lions RT Rick Wag­ner, whom Chicago had courted in free agency to re­place Massie. But Massie, the Bears’ only blocker with­out an egre­gious er­ror last week, has the length and mass to bat­tle Hunter.

The for­mer North Carolina quar­ter­back made four pre­sea­son ap­pear­ances, go­ing 36-for-53 for 364 yards, three touch­downs and a 106.2 quar­ter­back rat­ing. He also ran five times for 46 yards.

Fox’s Bears have been de­feated by dou­ble-fig­ure points eight times in 36 games, which is twice as many as un­der pre­de­ces­sor Marc Trest­man (in 32 games).


Min­nesota was de­stroyed by Bears RB in two meet­ings last sea­son, as the Pro Bowler tal­lied 288 rush­ing yards at 5.9 yards per clip. Now it must pre­pare for rookie too. The Vik­ings have the speed and strength up front to meet the chal­lenge. But they nearly al­lowed Detroit to spring its first 100-yard rusher in 56 games.

The Vik­ings’ top wide re­ceivers, and (com­bined 10 catches for 157 yards), were solid again, but other re­ceiv­ing pro­duc­tion was vir­tu­ally non-ex­is­tent. That void is mag­ni­fied with­out Cook, who, un­like Mur­ray, was as adept as a re­ceiver as he was a runner. Who will of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor fea­ture af­ter his big two?

3. Ball se­cu­rity: Chicago’s -7 turnover dif­fer­en­tial is the pri­mary rea­son Glen­non is done as the starter four out­ings into a deal con­tain­ing $18.5 mil­lion guar­an­teed. But Chicago’s im­pres­sive de­fense isn’t gen­er­at­ing take­aways, and this marks an­other op­por­tu­nity against a sud­denly reel­ing Vik­ings of­fense that lost three fum­bles in their last game.

4. May the best staff win: Fox’s club had a three-day head start to pre­pare.

ag­gres­sive and com­plex de­fense is hardly ideal for Tru­bisky to face if, in fact, the rookie de­buts. Can Bears co­or­di­na­tor

use Tru­bisky’s su­pe­rior ath­leti­cism and tai­lor the of­fense ac­cord­ingly to pro­tect him? Will Zim­mer have new tricks to un­veil for Chicago’s one-di­men­sional at­tack?

Arthur Arkush


Dalvin Cook Player to watch: Tru­bisky.

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