Fans needed a “feel-good” win to close out an otherwise forgettable season. So far, the Minnesota Vikings are delivering in Week 17.
The Minnesota Vikings lead the Chicago Bears, 24-10 at the half of a game already full of new team records. Sam Bradford became the Vikings’ single season leader in completions (280) when he hit Kyle Rudolph for a 22-yard touchdown in the 2nd quarter. The play was also Rudolph’s 29th career touchdown grab and moved him ahead of Steve Jordan for the most by a tight end in team history.
Chicago didn’t appear to have much fight left in them as the contest got underway. The Vikings wasted little time moving the ball on the game’s opening drive. It took all of six plays for Bradford to march the offense 70 yards and take the early lead. Jerrick McKinnon caught a swing pass, made a defender miss, and took it 35-yards for the score.
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Joe Berger was a welcomed back to the offensive line; slotted at left guard in place of the injured Alex Boone. The offensive line is now in their 9th different configuration for the season, following TJ Clemmings’ injury exit.
The campaign for the Bears to make Matt Barkley the 2017 starter took a major hit in the first half. Barkley has looked out of his element, throwing an interception to Xavier Rhodes on Chicago’s first drive and missing a handful of throws thereafter. The Bears did finally rediscover some of the ground game that gave them the win over Minnesota in Week 7.
Jordan Howard exploited the Vikings’ interior defensive line throughout much of the second quarter. His 93 yards were more than enough to break the Bears’ single-season rushing record for a rookie.
Turnovers have killed the Bears this afternoon. A muffed punt toward the end of the second quarter set up Bradford’s third touchdown pass of the game, a roll-out throw to Jarius Wright. Many fans are wondering why Wright hasn’t been a bigger part of the Vikings’ offense throughout the season. He currently has four catches for 22 yards.
Adam Thielen is four receiving yards away from 1,000 for the season. Sam Bradford has thrown 20 touchdowns on the season and remains on pace to break the NFL’s record for single season completion percentage.