5 things to watch in the Chicago Bears-Minnesota Vikings game — plus our Week 12 predictions

The Chicago Bears face the Minnesota Vikings for the second time this season Monday night time at U.S. Bank Stadium.

The Vikings received the primary assembly 19-13 after Bears quarterback Justin Fields was knocked out of the sport with a dislocated thumb. Now Fields is again to make his second begin because the damage, and the Vikings (6-5) are attempting to make a playoff push with out beginning quarterback Kirk Cousins.

As kickoff approaches, right here’s our snapshot take a look at the sport.

Player within the highlight

Vikings quarterback Josh Dobbs

Dobbs rightfully captured nationwide curiosity as he jumped in throughout an damage disaster to assist the Vikings win two of their final three video games regardless of spending little time with the workforce.

After beginning eight video games for the Arizona Cardinals earlier this season, Dobbs joined the Vikings by way of commerce Oct. 31 as they seemed to fill the void left when Cousins went down with an Achilles damage.

The subsequent Sunday, Dobbs — a seventh-year NFL veteran who majored in aerospace engineering at Tennessee — wanted to play when rookie starter Jaren Hall suffered a concussion. The Vikings beat the Atlanta Falcons that day and the New Orleans Saints the subsequent week earlier than dropping 21-20 to the Denver Broncos in Week 11.

Dobbs’ story, which incorporates spending time with 5 groups over the past calendar yr and three this season, is spectacular to Bears coaches and gamers.

“A lot of appreciation, a lot of respect for a guy that’s been on a journey like that,” defensive finish Montez Sweat stated. “I’ve got a lot of respect for it because I got traded in the middle of the year. I understand how that feels to go from team to team to team.”

With the Vikings, Dobbs has accomplished 63 of 96 passes for 647 yards with 4 touchdowns and one interception and has rushed for 131 yards and three touchdowns with six fumbles.

The Bears protection, which seems to be to construct on three interceptions in Week 11, is cognizant of Dobbs’ smarts and mobility.

“Definitely a quarterback that can extend plays,” linebacker Tremaine Edmunds stated. “Getting the job done throwing the ball, running the football, all types of ways. Anytime you have a guy back there that’s dual-threat like that, obviously it presents a lot of challenges.”

Pressing query

Can the Bears bounce again — and end?

The discuss all week at Halas Hall was about how the Bears would recuperate from a tough Week 11 loss during which the Detroit Lions got here again to win 31-26 after trailing by 12 factors with lower than 5 minutes to go.

Coach Matt Eberflus stated he addressed the “painful” nature of the loss Monday and challenged his gamers to rebound by Wednesday’s apply.

“You’ve got to really think about your body and your spirit. Get your body right, get the spirit right to come back Wednesday,” Eberflus stated. “That was my charge to those guys, to make sure they rejuvenate to get ready to go and have passion when they come into the building and enthusiasm to really put it out on the practice field. … They were driven, they were determined and they were locked in.”

Safety Jaquan Brisker stated “guys seem a little pissed off, seem like they want to play the next game, play the next practice.”

Quarterback Justin Fields, who returned from his thumb damage to throw for 169 yards and rush for 104 in opposition to the Lions, stated he thought the Bears confirmed who they have been by the primary 3 1/2 quarters. But they should present it by 4, and they should do it in opposition to a Vikings protection that gave Fields matches within the first assembly.

“Focus on finishing better and finishing out the game when it counts and when a drive comes up, making that big play when it matters,” Fields stated. “The Vikings have been playing great these past few weeks. Definitely excited for the opportunity we have on Monday night to go out there and ball out.”

Keep an eye fixed on …

Justin Jefferson’s standing

The Bears didn’t need to face the All-Pro Vikings broad receiver within the first assembly. Jefferson suffered a strained proper hamstring the week earlier than, and the Vikings put him on injured reserve. He has been on IR since however practiced in a restricted capability this previous week.

The Vikings listed him as questionable for Monday’s recreation. Jefferson instructed Minneapolis reporters that his absence, now at six video games heading into Week 12, has been irritating as he and the workforce strive to verify he’s absolutely recovered.

If Jefferson sits out Monday, he would have an additional week of restoration due to the Vikings’ Week 13 bye, which coach Kevin O’Connell famous to reporters Saturday.

“It’s tough to be patient and try to make sure that an injury heals properly,” Jefferson instructed reporters. “It’s definitely not something I want to do, but it comes with the game, it comes with trying to be healthy, trying to be 100% and (following) the safe route.”

In six profession video games in opposition to the Bears, Jefferson has 41 catches for 585 yards and two touchdowns.

Tight finish T.J. Hockenson (75 catches, 736 yards) and broad receiver Jordan Addison (48 catches, 647 yards, seven touchdowns) have led the Vikings with Jefferson sidelined.

Eberflus stated the Bears would put together as if Jefferson is enjoying and alter if he doesn’t.

“You’re always mindful of what the other team is doing and saying,” Eberflus stated of monitoring the Vikings’ feedback from afar. “We’ll see where it is. Certainly a great player. One of the best receivers in the business. We’ve worked on if he is and if he isn’t (playing). We’ll be ready.”

Rookie corners

Bears rookie cornerback Tyrique Stevenson, who had an interception and a pressured fumble in opposition to the Lions, tweaked his ankle at apply Saturday within the Walter Payton Center and is listed as questionable to play in opposition to the Vikings.

Eberflus stated the Bears nonetheless have been evaluating the severity of the damage to Stevenson, who has weathered ups and downs throughout his first 11 video games.

“You play corner in the NFL as a rookie, they’re going to highlight you and they’re going to come at you the first half of the season,” Eberflus stated. “They’re going to check your water and see what it’s like, and I feel he has responded. He’s had some battles. He’s misplaced a few of these battles. He’s received a superb portion of these.

“You need to continue to learn and put it in your file so that you change into a greater professional. What’s actually good about him is he performs one play at a time. He flushes the play and goes to the subsequent one, good unhealthy or detached. You need to have a brief reminiscence and maintain shifting.

“Every single week, every single down, it’s a different set of people you’re covering. Everybody puts a different set of circumstances in front of you in terms of their skill level. He’s learned how to adapt his skill to the people he’s covering and what’s effective against that particular receiver.”

Rookie cornerback Terell Smith, who was getting back from mononucleosis, performed 13 of the Bears protection’s 62 snaps in opposition to the Lions because the workforce desires to verify he will get expertise. Smith could possibly be in line to play extra if Stevenson is proscribed.

“He’s mature beyond his years,” Eberflus stated of Smith. “He takes things in stride. He takes coaching really well. … He really soaks everything in. He’s technique-sound, fundamentally sound and he’s got really good speed. We like his size, being able to play against bigger receivers.”

Injury report

Along with Stevenson’s standing, the Bears will monitor working again D’Onta Foreman (ankle/shin) and offensive deal with Larry Borom (sickness), each listed as uncertain. Linebacker Noah Sewell is out with a knee damage.

Center Lucas Patrick (again) and fullback Khari Blasingame (shoulder) are good to play. Eberflus additionally stated linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, who was on a snap rely in opposition to the Lions, needs to be again to full power Monday.

For the Vikings, Jefferson (hamstring), cornerback Akayleb Evans (calf) and defensive lineman Khyiris Tonga (knee) are questionable.

Predictions

Brad Biggs (7-4)

It appears counterintuitive to choose the Bears in a highway recreation with a hostile crowd in opposition to a protection that totally flustered Justin Fields within the first assembly. But the Bears can study loads of issues from that have and their offensive line has been higher of late. Eventually they’re certain to interrupt by in opposition to an NFC North foe. This looks as if it could possibly be the spot.

Bears 24, Vikings 20

Colleen Kane (7-4)

Which Bears will present up Monday? The workforce that pressured 4 turnovers on protection and particular groups and seemed competent on offense for 3 1/2 quarters in opposition to the Lions? Or the one which frittered away a 12-point lead within the ultimate 5 minutes in Detroit? Or each! The earlier assembly with the Vikings — and the offense’s struggles in that recreation — ought to make me choose the Vikings. So ought to the Bears’ confirmed skill to blow winnable video games. But the early exhibiting in opposition to the Lions has caught with me sufficient to consider the Bears’ two-year NFC North dropping streak lastly would possibly finish.

Bears 24, Vikings 21

Dan Wiederer (8-3)

For 55 minutes final week, the Bears performed successful soccer. They have been sharp offensively, aggressive on protection and performed with a perception they might compete in opposition to a high-quality opponent. Then all of it unraveled. An awesome alternative to reply awaits in Minneapolis. But till the Bears constantly present a capability to excel within the late levels of shut video games, it’s laborious to choose them to excel within the late levels of an in depth recreation.

Vikings 23, Bears 20

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