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Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears: First Quarter Open Thread

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports


Date: 31 October 2016
Location: Chicago, IL
Time: 7:30 PM Central Stadium: Soldier Field
WCCO-4 (Twin Cities)
Radio: Vikings Radio Network
XM Ch 226
Sirius Ch 83
TV Announcers: Sean McDonough
Jon Gruden
Know Thy Foe: Windy City Gridiron
Weather: 56 degrees, winds from the S at 15 MPH, 0% chance of precipitation
Line: Minnesota -4.5, Over/Under 40.5 (Thanks to the SB Nation Odds page)
Chris' Prediction: Vikings 21, Bears 17
Final Score: Bears 20, Vikings 10

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-Basically, thou shalt not be a jackwagon in the game thread.

The final game of Week 8 in the National Football League is just an hour away, as we are nearly ready for kickoff from Soldier Field for this NFC North matchup between the Minnesota Vikings and the Chicago Bears.

What does the purple need to do in order to walk out of this one with their first back-to-back victories over the Bears at Soldier Field since 1999 and 2000?

1) Keep Sam Bradford upright - The biggest source of problems in Minnesota's loss to Philadelphia last week was the inability of the offense to get anything going. This was because Sam Bradford was consistently under siege from the Philadelphia pass rush, as well as Norv Turner getting away from the short passing game that had been working for the Vikings up to that point. The Bears aren't quite at the level of the Eagles on defense, but they do have some pass rushers that could make things rough on the Vikings' offense. It is imperative that the Vikings do a better job than they did last week if they want to win this one.

2) Rattle Jay Cutler - Jay Cutler returns for the Bears this evening after being out since Week 2 with a thumb injury. He's had some pretty decent success against the Vikings over the years, particularly at Soldier Field. But the Bears, like the Vikings, have had their share of offensive line issues, and the Vikings' pass rush is looking to get back on the right track after going without a sack in two of their last three games. If the Vikings can get to Cutler, they should be able to keep the Bears' offense off track, particularly if the offense can get out to an early lead.

3) Get back to winning on special teams - The Vikings' special teams have played very well for the most part in 2016. Last week against Philadelphia, however, was a different story. The kick return unit allowed a big kickoff return for a touchdown that really shifted the momentum of the contest, and Marcus Sherels had an uncharacteristic fumble on a punt return that pretty much sealed Minnesota's fate. In a game like this one where weather could potentially be a factor (at least in terms of the wind), it is crucial that the Vikings come out on top in the "third phase" of the game if they want to win.

We're less than an hour away from kickoff in Chicago, ladies and gentlemen. We'll have a new Open Thread firing up at the start of each quarter, so keep an eye out for that. In the meantime, enjoy the game, and be excellent to each other!