Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


It's 25-3 and ugly at Soldier Field

Posted by: Mark Craig under Vikings, Bears, Adrian Peterson, Antoine Winfield, Chad Greenway, Chris Kluwe, Kevin Williams Updated: November 25, 2012 - 1:33 PM

CHICAGO -- It's gotten very ugly very quickly for the Vikings at Soldier Field.

So what else is new? They haven't won here since 2007, and a fifth consecutive loss at Chicago seems a certainty at this point.

Christian Ponder was sacked for a 9-yard loss on the first play. And things didn't get any better from there.

Adrian Peterson lost a fumble for the second time this season, giving the Bears a short field and a 7-3 lead that grew to 25-3 when a Ponder interception gave the Bears an even shorter field and a 13-yard touchdown pass from Jay Cutler to former Gophers tight end Matt Spaeth with 1:48 left in the half.

The Vikings did lead 3-0 when the offense turned a Chad Greenway fumble recovery into a four-play, 6-yard, um, march to a 40-yard Blair Walsh field goal.

Walsh also had a 30-yard field goal blocked -- only his second miss of the season -- while a 23-yard shanked punt by Chris Kluwe led to yet another short field and a 47-yard field goal by Robbie Gould.

The lowest of the first-half lowlights possibly came during the Bears' 14-play, 80-yard touchdown drive in the second quarter. They converted three third downs, a fourth down and reached the 1-yard line on a questionable pass interference penalty on Antoine Winfield, who was covering Brandon Marshall in the end zone. Winfield was arguing for offensive pass interference because Marshall had his right arm extended, holding Winfield at a distance while the ball was in the air.

The Bears capped that humiliating drive with a 2-point conversion run by holder Adam Podlesh. Podlesh simply took the snap and ran untouched over the left side of the line. Ouch.

The Bears probably could have scored another touchdown late in the game -- after the Vikings' offense used up only 27 seconds on a three-and-out. But they didn't use their time outs and settled for a 39-yard field goal attempt, which Kevin Williams blocked.

Here are some first-half stats to chew on:

. The Vikings have more turnovers (1) than first downs in the first quarter.   

 . The Bears lead in first downs, 16-3.

. The Bears have converted 7 of 10 third downs and 1 of 1 fourth downs.

. The Vikings have only 92 yards.

. Peterson has 25 yards on seven carries.

. Ponder has a 33.9 passer rating, completing 8 of 17 passes for 70 yards and one pick.

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