There are some fascinating stories surround this NFC North match-up against the Bears in Soldier Field, the most prominent being what is Mitchell Trubisky? The Vikings have very little tape on the guy, from time in the NFL or in college. For all we know, he could be the next Aaron Rodgers. Or the next Mark Sanchez. Either way, the intrigue surround this Monday Night Football game is tantalizing.
With injuries abound and new additions on both sides, let us take a look at how these two rosters stack up.
This is probably the greatest mystery of this game for both teams. For the Vikings, it is looking like Sam Bradford will miss another week but he has been noncommittal on that. For the Bears, they are giving second pick Trubisky his first career start. While he impressed in preseason, the lack of receiver depth and a tough Vikings defense make this a tough one to gauge.
Chicago has one of the league’s elite “Thunder and Lightning” duos in Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen while the Vikes will try to squeeze some semblance of production out of Latavius Murray, Jerick McKinnon and new acquisition Stevan Ridley. This one is easy.
Like the Bears at running back, the Vikings boast an elite tandem at wide receiver in Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. Michael Floyd returning from suspension only increases the play-making opportunities they will have. The Bears leading receivers are Kendall Wright and Deonte Thompson.
Chicago has some talent at the position with Zach Miller and Dion Sims but Minnesota is trotting out proven weapon Kyle Rudolph. He is always a threat for a multi-touchdown game and with a slow start, he is due.
There seems to be a narrative out there that the Bears have a mediocre line but that is simply not the case. They have opened holes for their runners and kept the quarterback clean. With Kyle Long finally healthy enough to play, this is a position of strength for the Bear. For the Vikings, though they have played fairly well, this is more of a position of adequacy.
Chicago has some nice players on the defensive front, namely Akiem Hicks and Eddie Goldman (when healthy). The Vikings have arguably the best defensive line in football, however, and are starting to get production from Danielle Hunter. If that keeps up, the Bears are going to have a whale of a time keeping Trubisky upright.
Danny Trevathan is suspended this week, Nick Kwiatkowski is likely out with injury and Leonard Floyd is off to a slow start. The Bears are in tough shape at linebacker this week while Minnesota boasts two Pro Bowl-caliber players in Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr.
Kyle Fuller has been a nice surprise for Bears fans as the cornerback was thought to be a bust after three seasons of sub-par play. But at every other secondary spot, there are major question marks. Minnesota really has no weaknesses defensively.
As inconsistent as Kai Forbath has been on PATs this year, the Vikings can at least say they have not tried out Roberto Aguayo twice to fix their kicker problem. Chicago cannot say the same thing. Mix in the constant threat of a Marcus Sherels punt return and the Vikings get the edge here.
Given this is Mitchell Trubisky’s first career start and the Bears are still have a rebuilding roster, all signs point to a Vikings victory. That being said, Case Keenum as a starting quarterback is a complete wild card as fans have seen in the past three weeks. He has carried the offense and he has let the offense down. And if Trubisky at all resembles Deshaun Watson, even more pressure will be put on an offense with a lot of question marks.
The Vikings defense is certainly good enough to beat the Bears by themselves. Even if the offense lacks the firepower to threaten for most of the game, a defensive touchdown or two will make sure the Vikings get their first road win of the season.
Prediction: Vikings 24, Bears 21
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