After a pair of humbling defeats officially killed their Super Bowl hopes, the Vikings are looking to finish the season on a high note by getting back to .500. The Bears are bad. But the reality is the Vikings are now, too, and their late blunders will cost them one more game. Prediction: Bears 17, Vikings 15.

Three big story lines

In it to win it Asked this week if he plans to use this meaningless game to get a look at young, unproven players, coach Mike Zimmer said he will play to win the game. Sorry, Taylor Heinicke and Kentrell Brothers fans.

One bright spot Wide receiver Adam Thielen, who in 2013 earned an offseason roster spot by impressing the Vikings in a tryout, is on the verge of becoming their first 1,000-yard receiver since 2009. Thielen is 40 yards short.

No Adrian With the Vikings eliminated from playoff contention and Adrian Peterson still hampered by knee and groin injuries, the running back has been officially ruled out for Sunday. Is his Vikings career now over?

Two key matchups

Vikings C Nick Easton vs. Bears DL Akiem Hicks With Bears edge rushers Leonard Floyd and Pernell McPhee likely out this weekend, their only threat left is Hicks, who has seven sacks. The Bears move him around, so all three inside guys could see him.

Vikings S Harrison Smith vs. Bears RB Jordan Howard Howard, a rookie, carried the Bears to their stunning upset of the Vikings on Halloween with 153 yards. If he is allowed to get to the second level, Smith and his safety sidekick must get him on the ground.

One stat that matters

71.3 Sam Bradford’s completion percentage, still on pace for a single-season NFL record.

The Vikings will win if ...

They force Bears QB Matt Barkley, who threw five picks last week, into more bad decisions and Bradford and the offense find the end zone a couple of times.

The Bears will win if ...

The Vikings continue to show a lack of fight, they let Howard run all over them a second time and their offense continues to settle for field goals when TDs are needed.

Vensel’s Vikings win probability: 50 percent