To get things started for the regular season finale at U.S. Bank Stadium, the Chicago Bears won the coin toss and chose to defer to the second half, giving the Minnesota Vikings the football first. Cordarrelle Patterson got an opportunity to return the kickoff from Connor Barth, and he got a decent return to put the Vikings at their own 30 to start their first drive.
Matt Asiata got the start at running back and got the first two touches of the game on a two-yard run and a five-yard reception. Sam Bradford then found Kyle Rudolph for a 4-yard gain for the Vikings’ initial first down of the afternoon. On the next play, Bradford fired a strike to Patterson, who picked up 39 yards all the way to the Chicago 20-yard line. Two plays later, the Vikings found the end zone from 16 yards out on a swing pass from Bradford for the touchdown! Bradford managed to move around in the pocket and swung it out to McKinnon, who turned on the speed and flew into the end zone. Kai Forbath put the extra point between the uprights, and the Vikings quickly found themselves out to a 7-0 lead.
Forbath’s kickoff went through the end zone for a touchback, so Matt Barkley and the Bears got to start their first possession of the afternoon at their own 25. Chicago picked up a first down thanks to three carries by Jordan Howard that picked up 17 yards to the Chicago 42. Barkley then found Bralon Addison for an 11-yard gain into Minnesota territory at the 47-yard line. Two plays later, Josh Bellamy took an end-around handoff and rambled for 22 yards down to the Minnesota 20-yard line. But when it looked like the Bears had a chance to put points on the board, Matt Barkley threw a terrible pass intended for Alshon Jeffery, and Xavier Rhodes collected his fifth interception of the season. Rhodes was taken down at the 4-yard line, which is where the Vikings started their second drive.
A 4-yard pass to Jarius Wright and a 15-yard pass to Kyle Rudolph got the Vikings out of the shadow of their goalposts, out to their 23-yard line. Two more touches for Asiata, a 4-yard run and a 17-yard reception, got the Vikings out to near midfield at their 44. Bradford then ran. . .yes, ran. . .for 24 yards into Chicago territory at the 32-yard line. A couple of runs for the Vikings moved things to 3rd-and-3, but a false start on T.J. Clemmings pushed them back five yards. It didn’t matter, though, as Bradford found Wright again for a first down to the Chicago 21-yard line.
Clemmings wound up going off with an injury, and was replaced at left tackle by Rashod Hill, who the Vikings signed from the Jacksonville practice squad in November. McKinnon carried the ball down to the 15 on first down, and then gave the Vikings first-and-goal with another 8-yard run. As we move to the second quarter of play, the Vikings are looking at 3rd-and-goal from the 8-yard line.
After the first quarter, the Minnesota Vikings lead the Chicago Bears by a score of 7-0 in this season finale. Can the Vikings add to their lead?