Their perfect record now a thing of the past, the Minnesota Vikings look to get back on track when they visit the Chicago Bears on Monday night in a matchup of NFC North rivals. The Vikings opened the season with five consecutive wins prior to their bye week but absorbed their first loss in a 21-10 defeat at Philadelphia last week.
Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer would not blame the bye week for stemming his team’s momentum, instead pointing to a sea of mistakes that included four turnovers, six quarterback sacks and a kickoff return for a touchdown allowed. “So if you’re going to do those things, you have no chance to win,” Zimmer said. Chicago, which has dropped three in a row and six of seven, has a burgeoning soap opera building. Jay Cutler, who suffered a thumb injury in Week 2, is poised to return to the starting lineup amid a published report that Bears coach John Fox told friends that he is “done” with the veteran quarterback after this season.
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN.
WEATHER REPORT: Conditions will be cloudy with temperatures in the mid-50’s and a zero percent chance of precipitation. There will also be a 10 mph cross-wind blowing off the water.
LINE HISTORY: The Vikings opened the week as five-point road favorites. The spread got as high as 5.5 before beginning it’s downward tumble in the Bears’ direction – ultimately settling in at 4 as of Sunday evening. The total opened at 41 an came down a 1/2 point to 40.5. View complete line history here.
Vikings – WR C. Patterson (questionable), CB M. Sherels (questionable), TE M. Pruitt (questionable), WR J. Wright (questionable), WR L. Treadwell (questionable), RB J. McKinnon (out), DT S. Floyd (out), RB A. Peterson (out), QB T. Bridgewater (out).
Bears – QB J. Cutler (probable), G J. Sitton (questionable), WR C. Meredith (questionable), LB D. Trevathan (questionable), LB P. McPhee (questionable), RB J. Langford (questionable), CB T. Porter (questionable), WR E. Royal (doubful), G K. Long (doubtful), WR M. Wilson (questionable), QB B. Hoyer (out), WR K. White (out), CB K. Fuller (out), LB L. Houston (out), LB L. Barrow (out).
ABOUT THE VIKINGS (5-1 SU, 5-1 ATS, 2-4 O/U): Injuries to top running back Adrian Peterson and along the offensive line are stagnating Minnesota, which ranks 31st in total offense (299.2 yards) and 30th in rushing (74.3). Quarterback Sam Bradford had six touchdowns and zero interceptions in his first four starts but was picked off once and lost a pair of fumbles last week against his former team. One of his new favorite targets, wideout Cordarrelle Patterson, has 16 receptions and two touchdowns over the last three games but missed practice Thursday with a concussion. Still, the Vikings rely on a defense that is limiting foes to an NFL-low 14.0 points.
ABOUT THE BEARS (1-6 SU, 1-6 ATS, 3-4 O/U): Backup quarterback Brian Hoyer suffered a broken arm and third-stringer Matt Barkley appeared totally overmatched in last week’s 26-10 loss at Green Bay. While Fox denied the report by the Chicago Tribune, insisting there’s “absolutely no truth” to it, Cutler acknowledged: “He doesn’t have a choice, I guess, at this point.” The most pressing issue facing Fox and Cutler is how to jump-start an offense that is averaging a league-low 15.9 points per game and ranks 25th in the NFL in rush with an average of 87.9 yards. Chicago’s defense sits 20th in the league, permitting an average of 24.1 points per game.
Since the Bears do not have a cheer squad, the Vikings go unopposed in this battle.
* Vikings are 13-3 ATS in their last 16 road games.
* Vikings are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 Monday games.
* Bears are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games overall.
* Under is 12-3-1 in Vikings last 16 road games.
* Under is 5-1 in Bears last 6 vs. NFC North.
COVERS CONSENSUS: The road favorite Vikings are picking up a big 79 percent of the point spread betting action. Under is grabbing 57 percent of the totals wagers. View full consensus data here.
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