When: Noon Sunday, U.S. Bank Stadium
TV, radio: Ch. 9, 100.3-FM
Line: Vikings by 7½
THREE STORY LINES
Vikings try to complete unprecedented feat after London
The Vikings and Saints decided not to take their bye weeks after their Week 4 matchup in London, preferring the league schedule their week off for later in the season. They will become just the sixth and seventh teams to play the week after a London game — and the Vikings will try to become the first to win games on two continents in back-to-back weeks. A victory at home would extend their win streak to three and get them to 4-1 before a trip to Miami next week.
New regimes match up for the first time
Bears GM Ryan Poles was scheduled to interview with the Vikings for their general manager position in late January, before Chicago made him an offer he found too good to turn down. The Vikings hired Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, who interviewed in Minnesota the same day Poles accepted the Bears job; the Bears named Matt Eberflus their next coach two days later, while the Vikings hired Kevin O'Connell after Super Bowl LVI. The two new regimes will be compared for years, and they will face off for the first time on Sunday.
Bears bring run-heavy offense to Minnesota
Luke Getsy came to Chicago after two years as Aaron Rodgers' quarterbacks coach in Green Bay. As the Bears offensive coordinator, he is helping Justin Fields through his second NFL season with an offense that's run the ball more than 60% of the time through its first four games. Fields will be a big part of the Bears run game on Sunday, and Chicago will lean on running backs Khalil Herbert and David Montgomery (if he's healthy enough for a big workload after an ankle injury).
TWO KEY MATCHUPS
Vikings LT Christian Darrisaw vs. Bears DE Robert Quinn
Quinn had 2½ sacks in the Bears' two games against the Vikings last year, but the 32-year-old is off to a slow start this year with just one sack and seven pressures through four games. Darrisaw, meanwhile, has shined through the first four games of his second season, where he hasn't been penalized or allowed a sack. He will get his chance to control Quinn at home.
Vikings' defense vs. Bears QB Justin Fields
Through four games, Fields has dropped back to pass 100 times; he has been sacked 16 times and pressured on 49 dropbacks, according to Pro Football Focus. The quarterback holds the ball longer than any passer in the league, and the Vikings' pass rush should have plenty of opportunities to pressure Fields at U.S. Bank Stadium. Their challenge will be to keep him from doing damage with his feet as he escapes the pocket, but if they can force him to make throws under pressure, they'll have chances for big plays.
ONE STAT THAT MATTERS
393 Receiving yards for Justin Jefferson in his four career matchups against the Bears. The receiver has surpassed 100 yards three times, scoring touchdowns in both of the Vikings' wins against Chicago last year.
THE VIKINGS WILL WIN IF …
They make Fields try to beat them. If they are able to control the Bears run game and keep the second-year quarterback from getting the help he might need to win this one, the Vikings should be able to force Fields into enough adverse situations that they can produce sacks and turnovers. The Bears' defensive front is no longer the Akiem Hicks-led group that gave the Vikings fits for years, and Jefferson should have chances for a big day against the Chicago secondary.
THE BEARS WILL WIN IF …
They can coax Kirk Cousins into a couple turnovers, and their run game has a successful day against a Vikings front that's allowed 4.6 yards per carry this season. The Bears will need to make this one easy on Fields, and the best way to do that is to control the game (and the clock) on the ground. The Bears defensive coaches have likely leaned on quarterbacks coach Andrew Janocko, who was Cousins' quarterbacks coach in Minnesota last year and coached Jefferson and Adam Thielen the year before that.
The Bears run game could throw a wrench into this one, particularly if Chicago is able to control the clock and force the Vikings into situations where they become impatient on offense. Whether it's the Vikings pass rush against the Bears offensive line, though, or Jefferson against the Chicago secondary, there are too many mismatches in the Vikings' favor for them to lose this one at home. They will get to 4-1 with another NFC North win. Vikings 23, Bears 14