Chicago Bears Win over Minnesota Vikings Proves Why There is Hope

The Chicago Bears win over the Minnesota Vikings proves why there is still hope for the future of this football team.

Just when the Chicago Bears showed there was no reason to watch them this season, they suck you right back in. The Bears were impressive in a 20-10 victory against the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night.

The win improves the Bears overall record to 2-6, and while the playoffs are still a ridiculous long shot, there is still plenty of reason to watch this team and plenty of reason for hope for the future.

First, if you are a crazy optimist, there is still a sliver of hope for the playoffs. With very few NFC teams emerging, right now the last wild card teams are 4-3. That would mean there is a good chance that 9-7 will be good enough for a playoff spot. Three of the Bears six losses have come against the AFC, which means if the Bears somehow get hot, they would have a solid conference record that would come in handy with tie breakers. After a 1-6 start, can the Bears finish 8-1 and make the playoffs? Let’s be honest, the chances of that are about 1%, but if you are an optimist, there is your reason for hope for this season.

Realistically, the playoffs aren’t in grasp this year, which means it’s time to let all the first and second-year players play and keep developing them for 2017 and beyond. We know the Bears have little to no depth. That’s not a surprise considering that Ryan Pace’s plan was to rip up the roster and basically start from scratch. It’s just not possible to churn more than 80% of the roster in two offseasons and go with a major youth movement and expect this team to have depth. It isn’t possible.

While Pace hasn’t hit on all his draft picks and free agent signings (no GM does), he has shown that he does have an eye for talent. There are plenty of young players that look like serious building blocks for the future. That list starts with Jordan Howard who eclipsed 200 all-purpose yards and found the end zone against one of the best defenses in the NFL. Howard has shown the ability to be a three-down back and the ability to run, catch and block.

Howard may be Pace’s biggest steal in two drafts. Those drafts include players such as Eddie Goldman, Adrian Amos, and Cody Whitehair- all of who have shown legitimate ability to play in the NFL.

Oct 31, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears center Cody Whitehair (65) reacts with fans after a game against the Minnesota Vikings at Soldier Field. Chicago defeated Minnesota 20-10. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Pace’s drafts have also included Jeremy Langford, Deiondre Hall, Nick Kwiatkoski, and Jonathan Bullard. While none of those players have proved that they are ready for primetime, they have all flashed ability and have shown that there is still hope for their development into legitimate NFL contributors.

While the jury is still out on Pace’s first round choices- Kevin White and Leonard Floyd, both of them have also shown that they could develop into NFL stars. White was just showing signs of becoming a legitimate threat in the passing game when he was unfortunately injured yet again, and now that Floyd is getting healthy, he’s starting to show ability to get to the quarterback, with three sacks the last two games.

Pace’s free agents have also been intelligent pick ups. Players like Pernell McPhee, Jerrell Freeman, Danny Trevathan and Eddie Royal have helped this team when they’ve been healthy, and while there have been some dud signings as well, none of them (the good signings and the bad) have included massive amounts of guaranteed money that hamper the Bears’ salary cap.

Even though the playoffs are a distant dream, the Bears have a bye forthcoming and have a chance to be significantly healthier on the other side. If the Bears can stay mostly healthy for the rest of the season, the Bears are going to play solid, competitive football and win some football games.

Keep in mind, Pace is trying to do what Theo Epstein and the Chicago Cubs did, he’s starting over and building with young players through the draft and through free agency. Whether the Cubs win it all or not, they’ve proven that they are a team that is going to be competing for a World Series every year. If Pace’s players develop like it looks like they might, patience may prove to be prudent with this team.

The Bears bye week will hopefully eliminate some of the sour taste of the first half of the season and provide a chance for the Bears to get healthy. Fans can look forward to watching players like Goldman, Floyd, Howard and several others flash their talents and prove to be building blocks for the future. An unfortunate first half to the season may have distinguished hope for 2016, but it still looks like the future of this team could be bright.

Bill Zimmerman is an editor and featured writer for FanSided‘s BearGogglesOn. Like his Facebook page or follow him on Twitter for more news and interaction.

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