4 things to watch in Bears-Vikings game

7 months ago 167
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Larry Mayer

The Bears (4-9) volition look to drawback a two-game losing streak erstwhile they big the Vikings (6-7) Monday nighttime astatine Soldier Field. Here are 4 storylines to travel successful the game:

(1) Will rookie backmost Justin Fields proceed to amusement signs of growth?

With the Bears retired of the playoff race, the improvement of Fields remains a apical precedence heading into the last 4 games of the season. The first-round prime from Ohio State has shown dynamic play-making quality with his limb and legs, but has besides made rookie mistakes that person resulted successful turnovers.

"We privation the crippled to dilatory down for him connected defense, marque bully decisions," said manager Matt Nagy. "His attitude's been phenomenal. He's got an highly agleam aboriginal ... It's not going to beryllium roses each day; there's going to beryllium times erstwhile it's not existent great. But he's truthful mentally pugnacious it makes things easier, that's for sure."

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Fields volition beryllium challenged Monday nighttime by a Vikings defence that entered Week 15 starring the NFL with 41 sacks. Minnesota is known for blitzing often and disguising its coverages.

"For Justin, it's going to beryllium a truly bully accidental for him to beryllium capable to spot immoderate of the things they do," Nagy said. "I deliberation astir apt the champion happening they bash is they disguise. It's a feline and rodent crippled wherever they similar to amusement you 1 mode and travel from different and past amusement you 1 mode and travel from that way. So, we've got to beryllium truly locked successful and beryllium bully with what we're doing schematically."

(2) Who volition play antiaircraft backmost for the Bears?

The full Bears starting secondary remains connected the reserve/COVID list: cornerbacks Jaylon Johnson and Artie Burns and safeties Eddie Jackson and Tashaun Gipson Sr. Gipson-as good arsenic nickel backmost Duke Shelley. In addition, cornerback Xavier Crawford (concussion) was ruled retired of the crippled and information DeAndre Houston-Carson (fractured forearm) was placed connected injured reserve Monday.

That near lone 4 steadfast antiaircraft backs connected the roster arsenic of Monday morning: Cornerback Kindle Vildor and safeties Marqui Christian, Deon Bush and Teez Tabor. As a result, the Bears flexed 4 signifier squad antiaircraft backs to the progressive roster Monday afternoon: Thomas Graham Jr., Michael Joseph, BoPete Keyes and Dee Virgin, on with 4 different players-receivers Dazz Newsome and Nsimba Webster, linebacker Charles Snowden and antiaircraft lineman LaCale London.

Having specified a depleted secondary volition marque it adjacent much hard to incorporate a Vikings discourtesy that ranks 3rd successful the NFL successful full yards and seventh successful passing yards. Quarterback Kirk Cousins is having an fantabulous season, having thrown for 3,569 yards with 27 touchdowns, 5 interceptions and a 103.5 passer rating, which ranked sixth successful the NFL entering Week 15.

"The biggest thing, I think, is his assurance that he's playing with and his quality to admit a sum and get the shot retired beauteous quickly," said Bears antiaircraft coordinator Sean Desai. "At the apical of his drops, he's being overmuch much decisive, successful my opinion, than he's ever been, and it's showing successful his results."

Cousins' favourite people is receiver Justin Jefferson, a second-year pro who has caught 85 passes for 1,288 yards and 8 touchdowns this season.

(3) Which Bears coordinators volition beryllium disposable to manager the game?

Defensive coordinator Sean Desai was cleared from COVID protocol Monday greeting and volition beryllium capable to manager against the Vikings. But violative coordinator Bill Lazor and peculiar teams coordinator Chris Tabor person not yet been cleared. If they are incapable to coach, they would beryllium replaced by walk crippled coordinator/quarterbacks manager John DeFilippo and adjunct peculiar teams manager Brian Ginn, respectively.

DeFilippo is successful his 2nd play with the Bears, adding walk crippled coordinator to his quarterbacks manager rubric successful 2021. He boasts 22 years of coaching experience, including 15 successful the NFL.

DeFilippo spent the 2019 play arsenic Jaguars violative coordinator. He helped rookie backmost Gardner Minshew propulsion for 3,271 yards with 21 touchdowns, six interceptions and a 91.2 passer standing portion besides rushing for 344 yards.

Prior to that, DeFilippo served arsenic Vikings violative coordinator successful 2018 and Eagles quarterbacks manager successful 2016-17. Philadelphia won the Super Bowl successful 2017, acknowledgment successful ample portion to quarterbacks Carson Wentz and Nick Foles.

Ginn is successful his 4th play with the Bears, having served arsenic violative prime power manager successful 2018-19 earlier being elevated to his existent presumption past year. Prior to joining the Bears, helium spent the erstwhile 18 seasons astatine the University of Delaware.

(4) Will a depleted Bears defence beryllium capable to incorporate Vikings moving backmost Dalvin Cook?

The Bears tally defence volition look a hard task Monday nighttime against Cook, who entered Week 15 ranked 3rd successful the NFL successful rushing with 978 yards and six touchdowns connected 198 carries. In Minnesota's past game, Cook ran for 205 yards connected 27 carries successful a 36-28 Thursday nighttime triumph implicit the Steelers.

"His full career, he's been a peculiar back," Desai said. "He's truly dynamic. He does an unbelievable occupation successful pressing the enactment of scrimmage, making cuts. He threatens each levels of the defence from a lateral perspective, a horizontal position and a vertical perspective, overmuch antithetic than galore backs successful this league, and we've played a batch of bully backs this year.

"But he's got the quickness and the velocity to bushed you astir the edge. He's dynamic capable to instrumentality 1 chopped and get you down the middle, which you saw some of those versus Pittsburgh-and versus astir teams this year."

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