It wasn't always pretty, but the Minnesota Vikings avoided a tenth loss in their 2014 season, holding on to beat the Chicago Bears by a final score of 13-9 on Sunday at TCF Bank Stadium.
The game got off to a slow start, as both teams could only manage a field goal each in the first half and went into the locker room tied, 3-3. On the Vikings' second play of the third quarter, Teddy Bridgewater threw a pass intended for Cordarrelle Patterson that was deflected into the hands of Bears' cornerback Kyle Fuller. Fuller appeared to take the ball into the end zone for a touchdown, but replay showed that he had been touched down by Bridgewater at the Minnesota 9-yard line. That proved to be huge, as the Bears had to settle for another field goal and a 6-3 lead rather than a 10-3 lead.
On the ensuing Minnesota drive, the Vikings scored the only touchdown of the afternoon, as Bridgewater found MSU-Mankato's own Adam Thielen for a 44-yard touchdown pass, the first receiving touchdown of Thielen's career (to go along with the one he scored on special teams earlier in the season). The connection gave the Vikings a 10-6 lead.
The teams exchanged field goals in the fourth quarter to make the score 13-9 in favor of the Vikings, and the home team appeared poised to end it on a drive that took them down to the Chicago 3-yard line. On 4th-and-1, head coach Mike Zimmer chose to go for it rather than kick a field goal, and the Bears stopped Matt Asiata short of the mark to take over on downs. A scramble by Jay Cutler gave the Bears a decent chunk of yardage, but on 4th-and-9, the Vikings stopped Martellus Bennett short of the first down marker, and the Vikings went into the victory formation to close it out.
Bridgewater played a decent game on the afternoon, completing 17-of-25 pass attempts for 209 yards, a touchdown, and an interception that really wasn't his fault. He did come up just short of his fifth straight game of completing 70% of his passes, as he only got 68% on the afternoon. Matt Asiata had a pretty good day for the Vikings, leading the team in rushing with 91 yards on 19 carries. Thielen also led the team in receiving on the afternoon, hauling in three passes for 68 yards and a touchdown. Thielen was one of six Vikings with at least two receptions on the afternoon.
For the Bears, Jay Cutler completed 23-of-36 passes for just 172 yards, no scores and no interceptions. Matt Forte led the Bears in rushing with 51 yards on 17 attempts, and also caught eight passes for just 23 yards. The eight receptions for Forte allowed him to set a new NFL record for receptions by a running back in a season. Bennett also had eight receptions for the Bears.
With the victory, the Minnesota Vikings will pick somewhere between #9 and #13 in the upcoming NFL Draft, depending on the results of other games this afternoon.
The Minnesota Vikings finish their season at 7-9 and in third place in the NFC North, while the Bears finish at 5-11 and in last place in the division.
The Vikings hold on to beat the Chicago Bears in the 2014 regular season finale by a score of 13-9. We'll have more on this over the next day or two. A big thank you to everyone that has gotten their Vikings coverage from all of us right here at The Daily Norseman.
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