Yesterday, I mistakenly said that after the bye week the Minnesota Vikings had two consecutive road games against NFC East opponents. I was half right. . .while they do have two straight home games, after their trip to Philadelphia, the Vikings will play their third prime time game of the year when they travel to the Windy City to take on the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field.
Last season, the Vikings managed to sweep the Bears and broke a seven-year losing streak at their personal house of horrors in the process. This year’s game in Chicago will take place on Halloween night, which may or may not be a harbinger of weird things happening.
The folks over at Windy City Gridiron provided this look at their team for us. They haven’t gotten their article about us up on their site yet, so keep an eye out for that. Away we go!
Date and Time of Games
31 October 2016 (Monday), 7:30 PM Central Time, Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois
1 January 2017, 12:00 PM Central Time, U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota (game time potentially subject to change due to Week 17 NFL rules)
Notable free agent additions
ILB Danny Trevathan, ILB Jerell Freeman, DL Akiem Hicks, RT Bobby Massie, QB Brian Hoyer
Notable free agent departures
RB Matt Forte
TE Martellus Bennett (traded to New England)
Draft picks expected to contribute as rookies
1st Round OLB Leonard Floyd will at the very least be in on passing downs to rush the passer. His coverage skills could be put to use as well.
2nd Round OL Cody Whitehair is in line to start at left guard.
3rd Round DL Jonathan Bullard will be in the defensive line rotation.
5th Round RB Jordan Howard will be part of the Bears’ backfield by committee. The power element he adds could give him the edge on short yardage and goal line situations.
Biggest offseason addition
The two free agent inside linebackers will help get the Bears defense back to being respectable. Trevathan and Freeman are so much better (like really, really, better) than last year’s duo of Shea McClellin and Christian Jones.
Biggest storyline heading into training camp
There are a lot of story lines to pick from, but I think most fans are excited to see 2015 first round draft pick Kevin White finally healthy. He missed all of last season with a shin injury, and if he’s all he’s cracked up to be, he will add a huge playmaker to the offense.
Under-the-radar storyline heading into training camp
So many to choose from, like the revamped front seven gelling, the running back by committee taking shape, the safety position figuring itself out, Jay Cutler meshing with new offensive coordinator, but a more obscure storyline could be 7th round pick Daniel Braverman. He’s a smallish and shifty slot receiver that Bears’ fans are already rooting for. If he has a good camp then follows it up was a decent preseason, some fans will have their new favorite player.
Notable injuries heading into training camp
Fourth wide out Marquess Wilson broke his foot again and may end up on the PUP list. Outside linebacker Pernell McPhee is recovering from offseason knee surgery, but he should be 100% for training camp.