The first half for the Minnesota Vikings in their 2021 regular-season finale against the Chicago Bears was just about as ugly as it could have been. The second half, on the other hand, was much better.
Thanks to a 28-3 second half, the Vikings sent Mike Zimmer out a winner in what is likely to be his final game with a 31-17 victory over the Bears at U.S. Bank Stadium.
The Bears struck first, scoring on the opening possession courtesy of a 42-yard field goal from Cairo Santos to take a 3-0 lead less than three minutes into the contest. That was all the scoring for the first quarter of play, but the Bears were gaining significantly more offensive yardage than the Vikings were on their possessions.
Santos added another field goal with just under five minutes remaining in the second quarter, this one a 46-yarder to extend Chicago’s lead to 6-0. Chicago then got the game’s first touchdown at the end of the half, as Andy Dalton found Damien Williams for a 23-yard touchdown, with the two-point conversion making it 14-0 with 30 seconds remaining in the half.
Minnesota did finally get some points at the end of the first half, as Greg Joseph connected on a 39-yard field goal with no time left in the half to make it 14-3 as they went into the locker room.
The Vikings finally put the football into the end zone on their first possession of the second half, as Kirk Cousins found rookie Ihmir Smith-Marsette for a big 44-yard catch-and-run to cut the Chicago lead to 14-10. It was the second touchdown of the year for Smith-Marsette, with both of them coming against the Bears.
Chicago extended their lead near the end of the third quarter on another Santos field goal, this one a 42-yarder to make it 17-10 with a minute and a half left. The Vikings then tied things up on their next possession, as Cousins found Justin Jefferson for a 45-yard touchdown to tie things up at 17-17 with just over thirteen minutes left in the contest.
After forcing the Bears to punt for the first time on the day. . .though they had gone for it on fourth down four times previously. . .the Vikings took their first lead of the afternoon as Cousins found K.J. Osborn for a 21-yard touchdown to give themselves a 24-17 lead.
On the next drive, the Bears once again found themselves in a 4th-and-1 situation, and once again elected to throw the football. Patrick Peterson made them pay for it, as he intercepted Dalton’s pass and took it back 65 yards for a touchdown to make it 31-17.
That’s how it ended, as Justin Jefferson finished the year just 17 yards short of breaking Randy Moss’ single-season receiving record for the Vikings. That was the one downer in a game that the Vikings came back to win in a big way.
The only drama that remains now is when the Vikings will fire Mike Zimmer and/or Rick Spielman and start the next chapter of the Vikings franchise.
The Vikings beat the Bears 31-17 to get their record to 8-9 on the season. Thank you to everyone that got their coverage of this week’s game and the entire season right here at The Daily Norseman!