Griffen, Vikings set to spoil debut of Bears’ top pick Trubisky
LAKE FOREST, Ill. — The Chicago Bears are set to unveil their prized rookie quarterback. The Minnesota Vikings are staggering from yet another big hit.
No. 2 overall draft pick Mitchell Trubisky hopes to spark a stagnant offense and help set the Bears on a winning course when they meet the injury-riddled Vikings on Monday night.
“I feel like I’m ready,” Trubisky said.
From almost the moment the Bears traded up a spot with San Francisco on draft night to take him with the second pick, they said this would be sort of a redshirt season. But Mike Glennon’s poor play forced Chicago’s hand. He’s being benched after committing eight turnovers through the first four games.
The Bears (1-3) got blown out at Green Bay on Thursday. Coach John Fox informed Trubisky on Sunday they were going with him , and the announcement was made the following day.
“Will he make mistakes?” Fox said. “I’m sure. But I think he’s ready for it and we’ll see how he responds. I think he’ll respond well.”
Trubisky brings a strong arm and a mobility Glennon lacked. But he comes with limited experience, even in college. He made just 13 starts for the Tar Heels, all in a breakout junior season last year.
Trubisky set North Carolina’s single-season record for yards passing (3,748), touchdowns (30) and total offense (4,056) in 2016. He also ranked fifth in the country with a 68.0 completion percentage.
The Vikings (2-2) continue to lose key players on offense.
Dynamic rookie running back Dalvin Cook became the latest when he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in last week’s 14-7 loss to Detroit. It adds to a chain of injuries for a team that hasn’t been the same since quarterback Teddy Bridgewater dislocated his left knee last year. He remains sidelined, and QB Sam Bradford has missed three straight games because of a sore left knee.
Just don’t ask defensive end Everson Griffen if the Vikings are snake-bitten.
“Naw, man,” he said. “The train’s going to keep on going, baby. We’ve got guys who are going to step up in that role. I don’t like that at all. We don’t like that negative energy.”
Some things to know about this prime-time matchup:
GROUNDED: With Cook out, Latavius Murray takes over as Minnesota’s primary ball carrier. He said he’s still not quite 100 percent after having offseason ankle surgery, though he is well enough to play. Murray is in his first season with the Vikings after spending his first three with Oakland, where he ran for a combined 1,854 yards the past two years.
DOWN LINEBACKERS: Bears inside linebacker Danny Trevathan will serve his suspension for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Packers receiver Davante Adams, after having his punishment cut from two games to one by the NFL.
His absence leaves Chicago even more vulnerable in the middle. The Bears were already missing inside linebackers Jerrell Freeman and his replacement Nick Kwiatkoski due to pectoral injuries.
That could bode well for Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph, who set career highs with 11 receptions for 117 yards in a season-ending win over the Bears last year.
WINDY WOES: Chicago hasn’t been a fun place for the Vikings.
The Bears have won 14 of their past 16 home games against Minnesota, including one in Champaign, Illinois. And one of Chicago’s three victories last year was over the Vikings at Soldier Field.
Jay Cutler threw for 252 yards and a touchdown, and Jordan Howard ran for a career-high 153 yards and a score in that one. It was the Vikings’ second straight loss after a 5-0 start, and they wound up losing four in a row.
CATCHING ON: Minnesota’s Stefon Diggs leads the NFL in receiving with 391 yards, while WR Adam Thielen is third with 358.
The last time a team had two of the league’s top three in yards receiving after Week 4? That was in 2010, when Indianapolis’ Reggie Wayne and Austin Collie were first and third.
The Vikings could also be adding a playmaking receiver with Michael Floyd eligible to return from a four-game suspension. His punishment stemmed from a drunken driving arrest while with the Arizona Cardinals.
ON THE RUN: Though Minnesota ranks third against the run, the Vikings could be tested this week. Howard ran for 288 yards against them as a rookie last year — 135 in the finale to go with that career performance at Soldier Field. Two of his three biggest performances have come against Minnesota.
Tarik Cohen ranks fourth among rookies with 331 yards from scrimmage and leads NFL running backs with 24 receptions.
RECORD VS. SPREAD — Minnesota 2-2, Chicago 2-2
SERIES RECORD — Vikings lead 58-52-2
LAST MEETING — Vikings beat Bears 38-10, Jan. 1
LAST WEEK — Vikings lost to Lions 14-7; Bears lost to Packers 35-14
AP PRO32 RANKING — Vikings No. 18, Bears No. 27
VIKINGS OFFENSE — OVERALL (6), RUSH (17), PASS (8).
VIKINGS DEFENSE — OVERALL (12), RUSH (3), PASS (24).
BEARS OFFENSE — OVERALL (23), RUSH (12), PASS (27).
BEARS DEFENSE — OVERALL (9), RUSH (6), PASS (15).
STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES — Minnesota has dropped 14 of past 16 road games against Chicago, including one in Champaign, Illinois. … Vikings have held opponents to league-low 25.6 conversion percentage on third downs (11 of 43). … With RB Dalvin Cook tearing ACL in left knee last week, Latavius Murray becomes Vikings’ primary ball carrier. Murray spent his first three seasons with Oakland, running for combined 1,854 yards past two. He’s still working his way back after being limited through training camp following right ankle surgery. … QB Sam Bradford (sore left knee) has missed three straight games. … QB Case Keenum has thrown for 588 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions over past two games. … WR Stefon Diggs leads NFL in receiving with 391 yards, while WR Adam Thielen is third with 358. … DE Everson Griffen fourth in NFL with five sacks. … DE Danielle Hunter had two sacks last week. … QB Mitchell Trubisky — No. 2 overall draft pick — debuts for Bears after Mike Glennon played himself out of lineup. Trubisky made 13 starts at North Carolina. … LB Danny Trevathan is serving suspension for helmet-to-helmet hit on Green Bay WR Davante Adams. Had punishment reduced from two games to one by NFL on Tuesday. … RB Jordan Howard tied for second in NFL with four TD runs. … Tarik Cohen ranks fourth among rookies with 331 yards from scrimmage, leads NFL RBs with 24 receptions. … LB Pernell McPhee aiming for third straight game with sack. … Fantasy Tip: TE Kyle Rudolph burned Bears for career highs in receptions (11) and yards receiving (117) in last year’s finale and could be in for another big game, with ILBs Jerrell Freeman and his replacement Nick Kwiatkoski sidelined by pectoral injuries.