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Game Preview: Vikings at Bears

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By: Tanishka Mhaskar and Preet Shah
Novemer 17th, 2018

An important NFC North showdown this weekend as the Minnesota Vikings travel to Chicago to take on the Bears in prime time on Sunday Night Football. This game will be on everyone’s radars as it’s likely one of these two teams will win the division.

The Vikings must play a clean, near perfect game to go into hostile Soldier Field and come out with a win. Three things must happen if they want a chance against these surprisingly legit Bears.

1) Shut Down Khalil Mack

Khalil Mack is healthy again. Mack sacked Matthew Stafford twice, and looks to keep building momentum on his defensive player of the year type campaign. The Vikes will be without their best blocking TE David Morgan, but should likely get back their best offensive lineman, Tom Compton. Expect them to double, or even triple Mack to slow him down. With the Bears defense, it’s pick your poison. Luckily for Minnesota, we have a certain quarterback by the name of Kirk Cousins who has an “elite” ability of getting the ball out extremely quickly. That doesn’t come without the ability of WRs Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen getting open incredibly quick.

2) Establish Run Game

The run game has definitely been disappointing this year but as of late it has shown signs of a rebirth. The return of Dalvin Cook proved to of the utmost importance as even though he was on a snap count he rushed for 89 yards on 10 attempts. He seemed to have a certain explosiveness about him that I don’t think I have seen since before his ACL tear last year. He looked like a completely different player than the Dalvin we had seen in the first couple of weeks or even in the Rams game when he was playing with a hamstring injury. If the Vikings want to have more time in the pocket facing one of the best defensive lines a good idea would be to utilize both Murray and Cook early to help set up play action fakes to help Kirk buy some much needed time to throw to his weapons.

3) Keep Trubisky IN the pocket

Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky is second in the league among quarterbacks in rushing yards with 320 and 3 TDs. Matt Nagy and the Bears frequently call run plays which are well executed and which move the chains. It is reminiscent of a high school football offensive play, but it works. The Vikings are the third best run defense in the league right now and with a possibility of getting Barr back, they might just get better. Regardless, the big men up front must close up the holes and let Trubisky try to beat us from the pocket. 

Players to Watch

Harrison Smith

No one really talks about Harrison Smith, but he’s always lurking. If you’re a quarterback, the one person to really look for on the field is Smith. He’s a game changer and head coach Mike Zimmer knows just how to utilize him. Everyone remembers how Trubisky’s first career start turned out: a game changing interception by Smith to set up a Kai Forbath field goal. On Sunday, I would expect Smith to make some kind of game changing play because his presence is ALWAYS felt in big games. After all, he is the only player to have intercepted Drew Brees this season. Smith will also be tasked with covering Bears TE Trey Burton and, as usual, helping out with the many, quick offensive weapons such as WRs Anthony Miller, Allen Robinson, and Taylor Gabriel. It’s always fun to see what the “Hitman” can do.

Anthony Miller

Who is Anthony Miller? He is a rookie taken 51st overall in the draft who the Chicago Bears had liked so much, they traded away their 4th and 7th round selections to move into the late second round to pick him up. Though he is just a rookie, and like other rookies he has had his share of struggles, he has been very impressive as of late. In his last game vs the Lions, he recorded 122 yards on 5 receptions with 1 touchdown. The one knock on this explosive rookie is that he has dropped the ball far too often. As of late, the drops have decreased as he builds a rapport with quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. As Miller plays most of his snaps in the slot, it is safe to say that we will see him line up against third year corner Mackensie Alexander.

Preet: Vikings 27- Bears 21
Tanishka: Vikings 26- Bears 20