VIKINGS (2-2) VS. BEARS (1-3)
MONDAY, 8:30 P.M. ET, SOLDIER FIELD, CHICAGO uTV: ESPN
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).
WHO WILL WIN AND WHY
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?
Dalvin Cook Player to watch: Trubisky.