1. Weatherly roughing call questionable
There have been a few questionable roughing penalties that have gone for and against the Vikings this season. But the worst one to go against the Vikings came in Sunday’s 24-10 loss to the Bears at U.S. Bank Stadium. Stephen Weatherly bumped Mitch Trubisky, making no contact with the QB’s head, after he uncorked a deep incompletion to Joshua Bellamy on third-and-11 from the Bears 24-yard line in the second quarter. Weatherly’s hands were raised as he bumped into Trubisky, who fell. Asked if he thought it was a bad call, Weatherly said, “Yeah, I tried to slow up. I could have ran by him, but they made the call.” With the new set of downs, the Bears scored a touchdown six snaps later to take a 13-0 lead.
2. Sideline chaos on challenge not good
The Vikings sideline looked discombobulated at best when coach Mike Zimmer was challenging the spot of the football at the same time his offense was lining up and sneaking the ball for a first down on fourth-and-1 at the Chicago 4 late in the third quarter. Zimmer’s challenge negated the first-down sneak by quarterback Kirk Cousins. Fortunately for Zimmer, the Vikings still got the first down when running back Dalvin Cook slammed into the right side of the line for a 2-yard gain. One snap later, Cousins hit wide receiver Stefon Diggs for a 2-yard touchdown to close the Bears’ lead to 13-10. Zimmer finished the season winning only one of five replay challenges. Opponents went 0-for-5.
3. Flipping the field … by 82 yards?
The Vikings were stuck in a fourth-and-19 situation when they lined up to punt from their 3-yard line early in the second quarter. When the Bears took the next snap, it came from their own 15. That’s an 82-yard flipping of the field. Punter Matt Wile unleashed a 65-yard punt. Then Eric Wilson and Kentrell Brothers dropped returner Tarik Cohen for a 2-yard loss. Then an official threw a flag on Bears punter Pat O’Connell. Uh, what? Yes, the Bears punter was on the sideline. But he got too close to the field and interfered with an official running down the sideline. That’s a 15-yard penalty. And yet the Bears still scored, thanks to the third-down roughing penalty on Weatherly.
4. No tank you, says Bears coach Nagy
When the third quarter began, the Bears led 13-3. The Rams led the 49ers 31-10 at the half. In other words, it was pretty clear the Bears had nothing to play for because they needed a Rams loss to move up and get a first-round bye. Bears coach Matt Nagy, the front-runner for NFL Coach of the Year, didn’t care. He acknowledged the risk of injury, but he basically said the Bears have worked too hard, gotten too close this year to lay down halfway through a game. So he stuck with his starters and played Trubisky the entire game. “I was going off my gut feeling, gut reaction, with our guys,” Nagy said. “I love winning. These opportunities don’t come around a whole lot. I think it’s fun to win. So when you win, whoever it is, who cares. Let’s just play ball.”
5. Barr: ‘I don’t feel I have anything to prove.’
As part of the interview for Sunday’s Star Tribune story on him, linebacker Anthony Barr was asked if he felt the Vikings wanted him to prove himself worthy of a multiyear contract this year. “No, I don’t think it had anything to do with that,” said Barr, who is playing under the $12.3 million fifth-year option on his rookie deal. “I had one of my best years last year. Maybe they wanted to see, ‘Can he string more years like that together?’ Maybe that was something. Maybe they wanted me to prove something. But I don’t feel like I have anything more to prove. I’ve proven enough to myself and my teammates. … I definitely think the coaches believe in me. They’ve expressed how important I am. I think that’s all the validation I need.”