1. Vikings’ protection improved with Keenum in
After Sam Bradford was sacked four times in the first half, Case Keenum wasn’t taken down once. According to Pro Football Focus, he wasn’t pressured on 17 of his 21 pass attempts. Bradford held the ball for roughly 5.1 seconds on the sack that earned the Bears a safety, and his lack of mobility might have contributed to at least two other sacks. Keenum’s mobility, and assuredness in the offense, probably worked hand in hand with better protection from the line.
2. Elflein in for another test
Rookie center Pat Elflein had one of his rougher nights in the NFL, giving up a pair of sacks as Bears defensive tackle Akiem Hicks gave him trouble for much of the game. Things won’t get easier for Elflein on Sunday, when he has to face the Packers’ Mike Daniels. The sixth-year tackle missed the Packers’ past two games because of a hip injury, but when he’s healthy, he’s a force. Elflein has had a solid start to his career, but he’s got another difficult assignment coming.
3. Hurry-up brings a change of pace
The Vikings offense needed a spark late in the first half with Bradford ailing, and they turned to a hurry-up offense to put together what had been their longest drive of the night to that point. A faster tempo also created confusion in the Bears’ linebacking group on Jerick McKinnon’s 58-yard touchdown run. Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur spent time in Chip Kelly’s high-speed offense in Philadelphia, and the Vikings have used an up-tempo offense with success so far this year. It was part of the reason they got going Monday night.