Leading up to the Vikings Monday Night Football showdown with the Bears, the main conversation in Vikings country revolved around the haunted history at Soldier Field. Although it wasn’t the cleanest win, the Vikings came out on top with a final score of 19-13.
The special teams unit continued their struggles botching a snap on an extra point and allowing a kickoff return for a touchdown. Despite some game changing plays against the Vikings on special teams, the offense and defense both played well enough to make up for those mistakes.
Kirk Cousins and his 0-9 Monday Night Football record has been a narrative that came with him to the Vikings in 2018. Behind one of his better games of 2020, Cousins was a big part for the Vikings first win at Soldier Field since 2017.
It’s clear that the narrative was getting old to Cousins and his team, as it seemed like he was playing with more fire than usual. Mike Zimmer also brought it up in his post-game speech addressing the team.
The run game struggled to get going early so Gary Kubiak had to rely on Cousins more heavily than he has in the past two weeks. He didn’t disappoint, completing over 69 percent of his passes for 292 yards, two touchdowns and an interception that bounced out of the hands of Adam Thielen.
Thielen did score the Vikings only two touchdowns, one of which was a beautiful one-handed catch for the first score of the game.
Despite being the only Vikings player to score, Thielen’s good game was overshadowed by Justin Jefferson’s first ever appearance on Monday Night Football. Jefferson led the team with eight receptions for 135 yards.
The injuries to the Vikings’ defense throughout the first half of the season seemed as if it were going to be too much to overcome. However, during the three-game winning streak the youthful defense is playing with a fire that hasn’t been seen since 2017.
Harrison Smith got the strong defensive game started with an early interception off of Nick Foles. The Vikings scored on the following drive to go up 7-0.
Smith, along with Eric Kendricks and Anthony Harris, are always going to be the guys that the fans expect to have a big game. They’ve all been playing well recently, but the young players have given the fan base something to be excited about long-term.
Jeff Gladney and Kris Boyd have been two of the most entertaining players to watch over the last three weeks. Their physicality in the run game brings flashbacks of what Antoine Winfield Sr. used to do in a Vikings uniform.
Although there have been breaks in coverage at times, and the unit is still missing a few starters, the young cornerbacks have been growing each week.
Eric Wilson is another player that deserves a lot of credit for the Vikings three game winning streak. Louis Riddick let everyone know on the broadcast that Wilson has been a walking turnover machine as of late.
Wilson led the team with seven tackles, one sack, one pass breakup and two quarterback hits.
Rookie defensive end D.J. Wonnum also strung together another solid game, recording the only other sack of the night. Wonnum getting reps with Hunter’s injury could be a long-term blessing for the Vikings, as it looks like Andre Patterson is working his magic on another “project” defensive end.
The Bears offense is one of the worst units in the NFL, but that shouldn’t take away from the performance this defense had. Despite being extremely banged up on all three phases of the defense, the next man up moto has continued to work for Zimmer.
A few weeks ago the discussion around Vikings Twitter revolved around which quarterback the team should tank for. Now sitting at 4-5, with a three-game stretch against teams with a combined record of 6-22, the Vikings have a legitimate chance to get back in the playoff conversation.
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