For about fifty-eight minutes on Sunday afternoon, it looked like the Minnesota Vikings were going to suffer their eighth consecutive loss at Soldier Field, as they trailed the Chicago Bears by a score of 20-13 at the two-minute warning.
Fortunately for the Vikings, NFL games are sixty minutes long, and they needed every second of it to pull out their first victory at Soldier Field since 2007, defeating the Bears by a final score of 23-20.
The Bears got on the board first, courtesy of a 55-yard field goal by Robbie Gould to put them ahead 3-0. After rookie Danielle Hunter got a sack of Jay Cutler on Chicago's next drive, the Vikings' put the game's first touchdown on the board, as Marcus Sherels returned a punt from Pat O'Donnell 65 yards for a touchdown to give the Vikings a 7-3 lead.
The Vikings put together a nice drive to start the second quarter, but once again had difficulty converting in the red zone. They brought on Blair Walsh for a 43-yard field goal, which he put through the uprights to extend Minnesota's lead to 10-3. The defensive battle continued, and that's how the two teams went into the locker room for halftime.
Chicago took advantage of a Minnesota mistake at the end of the first half, as Teddy Bridgewater was intercepted by Kyle Fuller. Fuller took the return of the interception down to the Minnesota 34-yard line, and shortly after that Cutler found Alshon Jeffery for a 21-yard touchdown pass. Gould added the extra point, and the teams went into the locker room tied at 10-10.
After receiving the second half kickoff, the Bears put together a lengthy drive, but were forced to settle for another Gould field goal. He hit from 33 yards out, and the Bears took the lead back at 13-10.
Gould missed his first field goal of the season late in the third quarter, as he pushed one wide from 51 yards out. The Vikings took advantage of the miss. . .well, enough of an advantage to tie it up, as Blair Walsh hit his second field goal of the afternoon from 48 yards out to tie the game at 13-13.
On the next drive, the Bears managed to dink and dunk their way down the field, holding the ball for over eight and a half minutes. They took the lead on their second touchdown of the day, as Jay Cutler took it in himself from four yards out to make the score 20-13 with just under five minutes remaining in the contest.
The Vikings had an answer on their next drive, however, as the Vikings started on their 16-yard line and marched the ball 84 yards down the field. On a 3rd-and-4 play right after the two-minute warning, Teddy Bridgewater found Stefon Diggs on a short pass, and Diggs made one move and went the rest of the way for a 40-yard touchdown. The extra point from Blair Walsh tied the game at 20-20 with 1:49 left on the clock.
Minnesota forced a three-and-out from the Bears on their next possession, and got the ball back with one minute left on their own 34-yard line. On second down, Bridgewater found Charles Johnson. . .yes, Charles Johnson. . .for a big 34-yard gain to put the Vikings in field goal range. Adrian Peterson then took the ball to the Chicago 18-yard line, and the Vikings called on Blair Walsh for a game-winning field goal attempt. Walsh put it home from 36 yards out and, for the first time since 2007, the Minnesota Vikings left the Windy City with a victory, 23-20.
It wasn't pretty statistically for the Vikings, to say the least. Bridgewater finished his day completing 17-of-30 passes for 187 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. Adrian Peterson got back on the right track, however, carrying the ball 20 times for 103 yards on the afternoon. Diggs wound up being the Vikings' leading receiver, hauling in six catches for 95 yards and the game-tying score.
For Chicago, Jay Cutler played a great second half for the Bears. He wound up with completions on 22-of-33 of his passes for 211 yards, a touchdown pass, and a touchdown run. Matt Forte had just 41 yards on ten carries before leaving midway through the third quarter with a knee injury. Alshon Jeffery had his way with the Vikings again, catching ten passes for 116 yards and a touchdown on the afternoon.
The Vikings move to 5-2 on the season, and will host the St. Louis Rams at TCF Bank Stadium next weekend. Chicago falls to 2-5 on the year and will travel west to take on the San Diego Chargers in Week 9.
The Minnesota Vikings defeat the Chicago Bears by a score of 23-20 in Week 8 NFL action. Thanks to everybody that got their coverage of this week's game right here at The Daily Norseman!