Harold House is substituted as a pinch hitter this week and previews the Vikings matchup with the Chicago Bears.
Updated: November 15th, 2014 12:53pm
By: Harold House
*Editor’s Note: Daniel House is tied up this week as he plays Curly in a musical production of ‘Oklahoma!’ However, he called in Harold House to preview the week 11 matchup with the Chicago Bears *
Here are the keys the Vikings will need to follow if they want to knock off the Chicago Bears in a critical divisional matchup:
Winning in Chicago
The Vikings haven’t won in Chicago since 2006. The Bears have given up a total of 106 points in their last two games and would seem to be “ripe for the pickin’.” It appeared that their defense had given up last week by the second quarter of the Packers game and with no pass rush and a marginal secondary, success for the Viking offense would appear likely. With the return of Kyle Rudolph to the offensive attack, the ability to get down the field for large gains is a possibility. This may be a week where the pass sets up the run game. The Vikings have to win divisional games to make a playoff push in the second half of the season.
Bears locker room
Multiple Bear players have been very vocal about their displeasure with how the team has performed this year. The locker room appears very divided and the Vikings would be well suited to start fast and get ahead early. The Bears have allowed a league-most 19.9 points per 1st half average. Getting ahead immediately, will lead to more disgruntled Bears players and it no doubt will affect the overall play on the field. Marc Trestman’s laid-back coaching approach would work with a mature squad; however, this group is far from veteran status.
Vikings pass rush
The Vikings have sacked the opposing quarterbacks 20 times the past 4 weeks. This strategy would bode well with Jay Cutler on the field. He can be forced into mistakes and the Vikings have shown success in this avenue over the past month. Cutler likes to take chances and when rushed, he has proven to turn the ball over. Turnovers can be the key to winning on the road. Everson Griffen and Sharrif Floyd need to continue their dominance up front by using various stunts that were implemented in the first half of the season.
If the Vikings offensive line can consistently perform and allow for Teddy to find his receivers they should expect success against a poor Bears secondary. Chicago has allowed the eighth-most passing yards in the league and I expect favorable match-ups for the Vikings receiving core. The key to being successful will be offensive line protection. Norv Turner should see plenty of opportunities when calling this game and the players on the field will need to execute.
The Vikings are currently 0-2 in the NFC North with previous losses to the Lions and Packers. A win against the Bears would bode well as it would be their first divisional win of the year, moving their overall record to 5-5. With 6 games left, a 4-2 finish could secure a wild card berth in the NFC. The Vikings are 7-16-1 in the NFC North since 2010 and this trend will need to change if Minnesota wants to make a late playoff surge.
This will be Teddy’s first game in cold weather (less than 40 degrees). It will be interesting to see how he adjusts to the elements and if this affects his playmaking skills. There is also a 20% chance of precipitation and the wind is supposed to be blowing near 15 mph. This is something he will need to mentally overcome, as they will be playing a majority of their games outside until their new facility opens in 2016. Coach Zimmer had the squad practicing outdoors this week, as he knows this will be an adjustment for several Vikings players.