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Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears: First Quarter Open Thread

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports


Date: 9 October 2017
Location: Chicago, IL
Time: 7:30 PM Central Stadium: Soldier Field
Radio: Vikings Radio Network
XM Ch 81
Sirius Ch 81
TV Announcers: Sean McDonough
Jon Gruden
Know Thy Foe: Windy City Gridiron
Weather: 70 degrees, winds from NE at 5-10 MPH, 0% chance of rain
Line: Minnesota -4, Over/Under 41 (Thanks to the SB Nation odds page)
Chris' Prediction: Vikings 27, Bears 17
Final Score:

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The last game of Week 5 in the National Football League is an all-NFC North affair between the Minnesota Vikings and the Chicago Bears. If the purple can pull off a victory in this one, they'll move to 3-2 and remain tied with the Detroit Lions at 3-2 with a matchup against the Green Bay Packers on the horizon for next week. If Minnesota should lose, they would technically fall to last place in the division at 2-3.

So, what do the Vikings have to do in order to avoid falling into the NFC North basement?

1) Contain Jordan Howard - While the focus in this one will undoubtedly be on the Bears giving quarterback Mitchell Trubisky his first NFL start, it was Howard that ran all over the Vikings in this same situation last season. If he's allowed to do the same thing this evening, it's going to make things much easier for the rookie quarterback. The Bears need to keep Howard contained and keep the Bears' offense from getting into manageable down and distance situations and allow themselves to unleash the dogs on Trubisky and company.

2) Take care of the football - Last week, the Vikings' defense played well enough to defeat Detroit. However, 11 of Detroit's 14 points came as a direct result of Minnesota turning the ball over on their half of the field and the Lions taking advantage. This is a team that, on paper, the Vikings should beat, but you're not going to beat any team in the NFL if you keep handing them the football and giving them extra chances. Minnesota needs to hold on to the football and not turn it over to walk out of this one with a victory.

3) Exploit the middle of the field - The Bears are missing three of their top linebackers, with injuries to Jerrell Freeman and Nick Kwiatkoski and the suspension of Danny Trevathan. This should be an opportunity for Kyle Rudolph to finally have a breakout game, particularly if Sam Bradford starts at quarterback as anticipated. Rudolph should be able to get open in the middle of the Bears' defense, as should Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. If they can do that, the Vikings will be able to put up points.

We're less than an hour away from kickoff of this important NFC North matchup, ladies and gentlemen. Keep your eyes open for the new thread at the start of each quarter, and we'll have more on this game for you after it concludes.