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The Associated Press
MINNESOTA (6-7) at CHICAGO (4-9)
Monday, 8:15 p.m. EST, ESPN
BETTING LINE: Vikings by 4, according to FanDuel SportsBook.
AGAINST THE SPREAD: Vikings 7-6; Bears 4-8-1.
SERIES RECORD: Vikings lead 61-57-2.
LAST MEETING: Bears beat Vikings 33-27 on Dec. 20, 2020, at Minnesota.
LAST WEEK: Vikings beat Steelers 36-28; Bears lost to Packers 45-30.
VIKINGS OFFENSE: OVERALL (3), RUSH (10), PASS (7), SCORING (11).
VIKINGS DEFENSE: OVERALL (29), RUSH (27), PASS (25), SCORING (25).
BEARS OFFENSE: OVERALL (31), RUSH (7), PASS (32), SCORING (27t).
BEARS DEFENSE: OVERALL (9t), RUSH (24), PASS (8), SCORING (24).
TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Vikings plus-5; Bears minus-11.
VIKINGS PLAYER TO WATCH: RB Dalvin Cook. Returning ahead of schedule from a dislocated shoulder that kept him out of one game, Cook rushed for 205 yards on 27 carries last week against the Steelers. His production will be more critical with backup RB Alexander Mattison on the COVID-19 reserve list. Over the first three-plus years of his career, Cook was either out with an injury or bottled up by the Bears. He finally had his first breakout against Chicago a year ago at Minnesota, with 132 rushing yards and a touchdown on 24 carries plus five catches for 27 yards. The Bears have struggled against the run, and DT Akiem Hicks and LB Roquan Smith are banged up.
BEARS PLAYER TO WATCH: QB Justin Fields. Chicago’s prized rookie showed some promise and had his missteps last week. He threw for 224 yards and ran for 74 after missing back-to-back games because of broken ribs. Fields strung together several solid outings prior to the injury.
KEY MATCHUP: Vikings’ defensive front against the Bears’ offensive line. Minnesota leads the league with 41 sacks even though no player has more than six. And the Vikings could be facing a depleted line, with both of Chicago’s starting tackles possibly unavailable. LT Jason Peters (ankle) exited last week’s game, and RT Larry Borom was added Wednesday to the reserve/COVID-19 list, giving the Bears six players on it.
KEY INJURIES: Mattison was joined by backup WRs Dede Westbrook and Dan Chisena in landing on the COVID-19 list this week. … WR Adam Thielen and LT Christian Darrisaw are recovering from ankle injuries that kept them out against the Steelers. … DE Danielle Hunter (pectoral) and TE Irv Smith Jr. (knee) are out for the season. DE Everson Griffen is out indefinitely for mental health treatment. … For the Bears, offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, defensive coordinator Sean Desai and special teams coordinator Chris Tabor entered the COVID-19 protocols on Thursday. … Fields bruised his non-throwing, left hand last week. … Hicks (ankle) has missed the past four games. … Smith (hamstring) and DL Khyiris Tonga (stinger) were injured against the Packers. … LB Khalil Mack (foot), S DeAndre Houston-Carson (fractured forearm) and LB Danny Trevathan (knee) have season-ending injuries. … NT Eddie Goldman, CB Artie Burns, OT Elijah Wilkinson, DE Mario Edwards Jr. and practice squad LB Sam Kamara were on the COVID-19 list in addition to Borom.
SERIES NOTES: The Bears have won five of the past six meetings.
STATS AND STUFF: Minnesota is one of six NFC teams with six or seven wins. … The Vikings nearly blew a 29-0 lead last week, hanging on by forcing an incomplete pass in the end zone on the final play. … Minnesota is the only team in the league without a loss by more than eight points.