Bears have been Monsters of the Midway to Vikings

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 19, 2012 - 11:46 PM

The Vikings have lost their past four games in Chicago and are looking to stop a five-game losing streak against the Bears.

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Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder was hit by Bears defensive lineman Israel Edonije in the second quarter during a Jan. 1, 2012, game. Ponder injured his hip on the play.

Photo: Jerry Holt, Star Tribune file

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The Vikings don't need much reminding of their recent woes in Chicago. Defensive end Jared Allen, for example, offered up again Monday that he is 0-4 at Soldier Field, still bothered by a quartet of games in which he remembers the Bears jumping out to early leads and the Vikings failing to get back over the hump.

"It just seems to be the same story whenever we go there," Allen said. "The first half is a storm we're trying to weather. And in the second half, we come out and scratch back into it. ... Whatever it is, you need to be aware of it and focus on, 'Oh, hey, this is how things have gone, and let's change things around here.'"

Indeed, true to Allen's memory, the Vikings have trailed at halftime in all four of his trips to Chicago.

Last year's 26-3 deficit was the biggest of the bunch and led to a 39-10 mauling.

Coach Leslie Frazier, meanwhile, laments the Vikings' current four-game Soldier Field skid as a byproduct of poor field position.

"Man," Frazier said, "any time we play Chicago, that is always an issue."

In the Vikings' past four visits to the Windy City, the Bears have scored 28 times -- 17 touchdowns, 10 field goals and a safety. In that span, the Vikings defense has allowed nine scoring drives that began on their half of the field.

Chicago also has a kickoff return score, a blocked punt touchdown and two fumble recovery TDs.

"I can remember some times where we just felt like we were on short fields all day long," Frazier said. "It drives you crazy."

But enough of the bad memories for a minute. Here's some reason for optimism. The Vikings returned to practice Monday morning after a week off and seemed to have a surplus of energy.

The Bears, meanwhile, spent their Monday in San Francisco and will have to regroup on a short week after a difficult West Coast road game.

So maybe there is reason to believe the Vikings can flip the script and remain a factor in the NFC playoff race into December. After all, the bye week seemed to provide plenty of physical and mental rejuvenation, particularly since it was preceded by a feel-good 34-24 victory over Detroit in which the Vikings found corrections to stabilize their run defense and catalyze their passing attack.

"I think we needed to get back on track with what we were doing," quarterback Christian Ponder said. "I think that definitely helped. It definitely made the bye week more enjoyable."

Now, much of the talk this week at Winter Park will center on the opportunity for the Vikings to make big things happen.

Yes, a three-game stretch that sandwiches a trip to Green Bay between two games with Chicago could realistically be the trap door that drops the Vikings out of playoff contention. But this upcoming slate also presents an opportunity for a surge that could keep a potential January game in play.

That's why mindset will be so critical for the Vikings this week -- as it has been all season.

No, Chicago hasn't been kind in recent years. The Vikings have only one victory there since 2000. But the Vikings understand this weekend's trip could become a springboard if they hit it right.

"Anybody would be dumb not to say this isn't a huge game for us," Allen said. "Again, it's not a make-or-break game. But it's a dang crucial game for where we're trying to get to."

  • VIKINGS WEEK 12

    Noon Sunday at Chicago • Soldier Field • TV: Ch. 9 • Line: Off the board

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Minnesota 35 FINAL
Miami 37
Baltimore 13 FINAL
Houston 25
Detroit 20 FINAL
Chicago 14
Cleveland 13 FINAL
Carolina 17
Atlanta 30 FINAL
New Orleans 14
Green Bay 20 FINAL
Tampa Bay 3
Kansas City 12 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
New England 17 FINAL
NY Jets 16
NY Giants 37 FINAL
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Washington 92
Indiana 100 FINAL
Minnesota 96
New Orleans 101 FINAL
Oklahoma City 99
Colorado 2 FINAL(SO)
Detroit 1
Dallas 6 FINAL(SO)
Edmonton 5
Buffalo 3 FINAL(OT)
Boston 4
Carolina 0 FINAL
NY Rangers 1
Toronto 0 FINAL
Chicago 4
Philadelphia 4 FINAL(OT)
Winnipeg 3
Harvard 27 FINAL
Virginia 76
Maine 69 FINAL
Army 72
Ferris State 82 FINAL
Bowling Green 68
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Cleveland State 69
Oregon State 52 FINAL
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Hartford 58
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Boston College 61
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Georgia Southern 42
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(1) South Carolina 84
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Brown 79
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Mount St Marys 49
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Wagner 76
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Duquesne 56 FINAL
Providence 67
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William & Mary 51
Alabama State 43 FINAL
Samford 56
TX-Pan American 43 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 64
South Dakota St 64 FINAL
Marist 82
Saint Josephs 50 FINAL
(5) Notre Dame 64
Radford 60 FINAL
Virginia Tech 73
(3) Texas 67 FINAL
(4) Texas A&M 65
Rhode Island 60 FINAL
Bryant 56
South Florida 90 FINAL
Penn State 87
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TCU 79
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IUPUI 62
(14) Maryland 110 FINAL
Coppin State 51
Mercer 59 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 72
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Monmouth 53
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Lehigh 72
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Iowa State 76
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Florida 78
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USC 62
Houston 54 FINAL
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(6) North Carolina 85
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(13) Duke 89
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Bradley 47
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SE Missouri St 73
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Minnesota 67
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Colorado 76
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Boise State 94
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(21) Miss State 68
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Old Dominion 61
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

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