Coming out of the locker room at halftime of the season finale at U.S. Bank Stadium, the Minnesota Vikings held a 24-10 lead over the Chicago Bears. Chicago got the ball first, having won the opening coin toss and deferring. The kickoff from Kai Forbath went into the end zone for a touchback, giving the Bears the ball at their own 25 to start things out.
Jordan Howard picked up where he left off, as he took the first play of the half for 18 yards, putting him over 100 for the afternoon. Matt Barkley then found Alshon Jeffery for his first catch of the afternoon, a 10-yarder that moved the Bears into Minnesota territory. Two more carries for Howard netted 11 more yards and another first down to the Minnesota 36. A false start on Charles Leno moved the Bears back five yards, but it didn’t matter as a screen pass to Jeremy Langford picked up 12 yards, and Langford carried for the first down on the next play.
Barkley then found former Vikings tight end MyCole Pruitt for a 6-yard gain down to the 19-yard line, but Eric Kendricks then blew up an end-around to Josh Bellamy for a four-yard loss. The Vikings then got their fourth turnover of the afternoon, as Barkley was looking for Cameron Meredith, and instead found Trae Waynes for Waynes’ third interception of the season. Minnesota took over at their own 11-yard line.
The Vikings converted a third down on their next drive on a 12-yard reception by Kyle Rudolph, with a 15-yard penalty on Akiem Hicks moving the ball further down the field. That reception gave Rudolph a second Vikings’ record, as it was his 80th catch of the year, passing Joe Senser’s mark for receptions in a season by a Vikings’ tight end. Minnesota then found themselves looking at a 3rd-and-8, and Bradford found Charles Johnson. . .yeah, Charles Johnson. . .for 11 yards and a first down into Chicago territory at the 44. McKinnon carried for nine yards, and then a short pass to Rudolph netted another first down at the 32.
A pair of touches from Asiata, a 9-yard catch and a 2-yard run, moved the chains again, and the Vikings were on the edge of the red zone. Unfortunately, on 3rd-and-10, Bradford was looking for Cordarrelle Patterson in the end zone, and instead found Bears’ defensive back Cre’von LeBlanc. It was Bradford’s fifth interception of the season, and it went for a touchback to set the Bears up at their own 20-yard line.
The Bears started their drive with. . .what else. . .two runs for Jordan Howard that picked up 11 yards and another first down. The Bears then switched to Jeremy Langford, and as we move to the fourth quarter, the Bears are looking at a 3rd-and-2 from their own 39-yard line.
Fifteen minutes left in the 2016 season for the Minnesota Vikings, and they’re holding on to a 24-10 lead over the Chicago Bears. Can they hold on for the victory in this one? Can Adam Thielen get 33 more yards to reach the 1,000-yard mark? Let’s find out together!