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After the Vikings’ loss to the Bears, here are some things to think about

It was ugly for most of the night.

Minnesota Vikings v Chicago Bears Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Ok, so I went to the Bears-Vikings game, and it was pretty unfortunate. The Vikings played some terrible football, and Bears fans did not have nice things to say to me. So, some thoughts.

1. Kirk Cousins did not play well, but...don’t listen to what everyone is saying about him.

Listen, Cousins was awful in this game. There’s no doubt about it. He missed open receivers time and time again and only figured it out when the Bears were playing prevent and letting Cousins hit Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs for easy passes. Also, the pick-six essentially sealed the game for the Bears, and it was a terrible throw and decision. Cousins ended up with okay numbers, but those don’t speak to the game he had overall.

But he’s still been one of the better quarterbacks in the league this year, and one bad game doesn’t change that. He’s in the top 10 in both passing yards and quarterback rating, and the Vikings’ disappointing start to the season isn’t totally on him. There’s no reason to lose hope in Captain Kirk.

2. Lose hope in the running game, though

Even with Dalvin Cook apparently back to 100%, the run game was dormant in Sunday’s ugly loss. This is a serious problem moving forward, because the Vikings can’t expect to compete with elite defenses without some semblance of a running game. It isn’t necessarily a Cook problem or a Latavius Murray problem, but the run game needs to be significantly revamped. The status quo is not acceptable.

3. Penalties, penalties, penalties

Stop getting them. Especially dumb ones, like late hits. It was infuriating to watch the Vikings consistently shoot themselves in the foot with dumb penalties in this game. It really has to stop.

4. Check the Vikings schedule

Minnesota has beaten a total of zero teams with a winning record, and will have to travel to New England in two weeks for a huge game against the Patriots. The other games look manageable, but at this point in the season the fact the Vikings haven’t beaten any good teams is pretty concerning. This is a team we expected to compete for the Super Bowl, and while that could still happen, someone’s gonna need to flip a switch and make some changes. However...

5. Potential reasons not to be mad

Some things to consider:

- The Vikings are only a game and a half back of the Bears

- The Vikings play the Packers next Sunday night, and can move two games ahead with a tiebreaker if they win

- The Bears do have a relatively easy schedule the rest of the way, but they still have to play the Rams

- The Vikings will host the Bears in the regular season finale on Dec. 30. If they’re within a half game, that would be for the NFC North title.

And with that last point, I have this to say to all the Bears fans riding high after tonight: let’s chat after Week 17. I have a feeling our conversation might look a little different than it does now.