Late December, and we still haven’t hit the bone-chilling, arctic-blasting cold that we all thought would eventually imperil Vikings fans at TCF Bank Stadium. So enjoy the mild winter again today after you feast on our Five Bold Predictions:

MATT VENSEL, beat writer

With Martellus Bennett and Marquess Wilson on injured reserve, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler is running out of people to throw to. He’ll lock on to Alshon Jeffery, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he targeted him 20 times. As a result Jeffery, who loves playing the Vikings, will top 150 receiving yards. But the Vikings will hold everyone else under 100 in a win.

MARK CRAIG, On The NFL columnist

After missing Adrian Peterson’s Seattle rushing totals by a mere 157 yards and three touchdowns two weeks ago, I am dusting myself off and stepping back into the whiffer’s, er, batter’s box. I’m digging in, raising my hole-filled bat and predicting that Peterson will … rush for more than 18 yards on eight carries as Blair Walsh kicks an overtime game-winner.

JIM SOUHAN, columnist

The Bears and Vikings both play better on the road. The Vikings appear to be a franchise on the way up. So do the Bears, although they’re a year behind the Vikings. Cutler has played more intelligently this year. Bridgewater followed a terrible performance with one of his best. Smith and Barr are hurt. So is Bennett. Put all that in a blender and my calculated pick is Vikings 24.1523, Bears 18.5946. Or look at it simply: Adrian Peterson runs wild, Vikings win 24-18.

CHIP SCOGGINS, columnist

The Bears come out disinterested, Jay Cutler returns to his old careless ways by throwing two interceptions, Adrian Peterson rushes for 150 yards and the Vikings win by 10 points.

CHRIS MILLER, pro sports team leader

The Vikings were awful against Seattle. And they were surprisingly efficient in Arizona with stiff odds against them. The amateur shrink in me thinks the Vikings will want to earn a playoff berth and will take care of business today. Cutler and crew cough up a couple of fumbles, the Vikings take advantage, and end up winning a low-scoring battle 16-13.

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