CHICAGO - NOVEMBER 14: Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears runs for a first down as Ray Edwards #91 and Madieu Williams #20 of the Minnesota Vikings give chase at Soldier Field on November 14 2010 in Chicago Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Vikings Season Circling The Bowl Following 27-13 Loss To Chicago

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Vikings Fall To 3-6 With 27-13 Loss To Chicago; Season Likely Over

(Sports Network) – Jay Cutler threw three touchdowns to lead the Chicago Bears over the downtrodden Minnesota Vikings, 27-13, in an NFC North tilt at Soldier Field.

Devin Hester caught a touchdown pass and added 147 yards in the return game for the Bears (6-3), who are now tied with the Packers atop the division after their second straight win.

Cutler connected with nine different receivers, completing 22-of-35 passes for 237 yards while getting intercepted twice.

Brett Favre, fresh off a career-high 446-yard showing in Week 9, was 18-of-31 through the air for just 170 yards with three interceptions and a lost fumble for the Vikings (3-6), who have dropped eight straight regular season contests on the road dating back to 2009.

Most of Favre’s yards came on a 53-yard scoring strike to Percy Harvin, who appeared to suffer a knee injury in the fourth quarter.

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Chicago Bears 27, Minnesota Vikings 13 - Bears Take Commanding Lead

Giving the Bears good field position all day has come back to bite the Minnesota Vikings, and it may have put the dagger into their season.

On a third down with less than a yard to go, Jay Cutler faked a handoff and hit tight end Kellen Davis for a 19-yard touchdown pass, his third of the afternoon, to give the Bears a 27-13 lead with under 10 minutes to play in the ball game.

If the Vikings want to keep their 2010 season alive, they’re going to have to pull another one out of the fire like they did last week.

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Chicago Bears 20, Minnesota Vikings 13 - Vikings Intercept Cutler Again

The Vikings looked as though they were going to go down two scores to the Bears, but safety Husain Abdullah stepped up again to make sure that didn’t happen.

Jay Cutler escaped the pocket on third and goal and moved to his right, then attempted to force a pass to Johnny Knox in the back of the end zone, but Abdullah stepped in front of the pass and picked it off for his second of the day. . .and of his career. . .to keep the Bears out of the end zone.

As we start the fourth quarter of play, the Vikings are trailing by seven with the football.

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Chicago Bears 20, Minnesota Vikings 13 - Stop Kicking To Devin Hester, Please?

After the Vikings managed to get a score to pull themselves closer, the Bears did what the Bears do when they play the Vikings. . .get a big play on special teams.

Devin Hester took Ryan Longwell’s kickoff from a couple yards deep in the end zone and returned it to about the Minnesota 30-yard line. From there, the Bears were able to drive deep enough to give Robbie Gould an attempt at a 37-yard field goal, which he converted.

With 5:26 left in the third quarter, the Vikings now trail the Bears by seven points, 20-13.

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Chicago Bears 17, Minnesota Vikings 13 - Vikings Answer With A Field Goal

The Vikings got some points back on their latest drive, but it sure seems like they could have had more.

The drive started with a 42-yard pass interference penalty against Percy Harvin by Bears’ CB Danieal Manning, but the Vikings couldn’t do much with it after that. On third down, Favre appeared to have Greg Camarillo on a slant for a score, but the normally sure-handed Camarillo let the ball bounce off his hands, and it fell incomplete.

Ryan Longwell came on and converted a field goal from 33 yards out, and the Vikings find them trailing again by 4 points.

With 8:14 left in the third quarter, the Vikings trail the Bears 17-13.

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Chicago Bears 17, Minnesota Vikings 10 - Vikings Give Bears Three More

The Chicago Bears couldn’t convert a turnover into points at the end of the first half. . .but at the start of the second half, the Vikings couldn’t dodge another bullet.

Brett Favre was intercepted on a deflected screen pass intended for Percy Harvin, and the Bears started out inside the Minnesota 10-yard line. However, the Viking defense responded, and forced the Bears to settle for a 34-yard field goal by Robbie Gould to make the score 17-10.

Minnesota will now get the ball back, going with the Soldier Field winds this time, with 13:12 left in the third quarter of play.

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Chicago Bears 14, Minnesota Vikings 10 - Vikings Avoid Disaster Going Into Halftime

The Vikings were trying to put something together going into the locker room at halftime, but they almost turned it into points for Chicago instead.

Brett Favre was scrambling on a third down play in Minnesota territory, and it looked like he was going to take a sack or go down for a minimal gain, but the ball was stripped away by a Bear defender and recovered by Chicago.

The Bears got into position for a field goal, but Chicago kicker Robbie Gould, much like Ryan Longwell earlier, couldn’t master the tricky winds this afternoon at Soldier Field and pushed his attempt wide to the left.

So, as we go into the locker room at halftime, the Bears still lead the Vikings by a score of 14-10. Minnesota will get the ball first coming out of the locker room at halftime.

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Chicago Bears 14, Minnesota Vikings 10 - Bears Make It Look Easy

The Bears started out with great field position after a short kickoff by the Vikings was taken out to near midfield. But even after that, the Vikings had many opportunities to stop them, and even had the Bears backed up to a first and 25 situation after a chop block penalty on the Bears.

However, it was not to be, as the Bears converted that and continued to move downfield, concluding their drive with Jay Cutler’s second touchdown pass of the afternoon, this one a 19-yarder to Devin Hester.

With 44 seconds left until halftime, the Vikings trail the Bears by a score of 14-10.

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Minnesota Vikings 10, Chicago Bears 7 - Quick Strike Gives Vikings The Lead

The Vikings held the Bears to a three and out on defense, and took the good field position that came from the ensuing punt and turned it into their longest pass play of the year.

Favre took the snap on the first play from scrimmage, stepped up to avoid the pass rush, and fired a great strike to a wide open Percy Harvin for a 53-yard touchdown pass, marking the Vikings’ longest pass play of the season.

With three minutes left until halftime, the Vikings have a 10-7 lead over the Bears at Soldier Field.

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Chicago Bears 7, Minnesota Vikings 3 - Bears Turn Missed Field Goal Into Points

The Bears took the missed field goal by Ryan Longwell and put together a pretty impressive drive to take the lead in the second quarter against the Vikings.

The Vikings had a couple of opportunities to get the Bears off the field on third downs, but Cutler managed to find Johnny Knox on two separate occasions to keep the Bear drive alive. Then, after having a touchdown taken away because of a holding penalty on the previous play, Greg Olsen reeled in a 17-yard pass from Jay Cutler for the score to give the Bears a lead.

With 6:57 remaining until halftime, the Vikings trail the Bears by a score of 7-3.

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Minnesota Vikings 3, Chicago Bears 0 - Vikings Fail To Capitalize On Cutler Interception

The Vikings forced Chicago Bears’ quarterback Jay Cutler into an interception, but couldn’t do anything with it.

The Vikings moved the ball well, with rookie Toby Gerhart getting the majority of the work and looking very good in doing so, but Brett Favre was called for a questionable intentional grounding on a third down play. On the next snap, Ryan Longwell. . .who’s usually automatic. . .smacked one off of the left upright on a 39-yard field goal attempt, and the Vikings gave the ball back to the Bears.

With a little less than 11 minutes left until halftime, the Vikings still have a 3-0 lead over the Bears.

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Minnesota Vikings 3, Chicago Bears 0 - Vikings Finally Score On Their Opening Drive

The Minnesota Vikings just did something that, to this point, they hadn’t done all season. . .score on their first possession of the game.

After holding the Bears and forcing them to punt on their first possession, the Vikings got a nice mix of run and pass on offense, getting into the Chicago red zone before the drive finally stalled out. Even in the wind and weather at Soldier Field, Ryan Longwell managed to knock through a 36-yard field goal to give the Vikings an early lead.

The Vikings scoring drive moved 62 yards in 11 plays, and took 6:32 off of the clock.

With a little more than three minutes left in the first quarter, the Vikings lead the Bears 3-0.

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Visit The Daily Norseman's Open Thread To Talk About The Game!

The best place on the internet to really get into the game day action of Vikings’ football with your fellow fans has always been The Daily Norseman, SBNation’s home of all things relating to the Minnesota Vikings.

Be sure to check out the Game Thread right here to jump in and get involved!

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Vikings Take On Bears In Huge NFC North Divisional Clash

(Sports Network) - Brad Childress was given a reprieve from what seems to be an inevitable divorce from the Minnesota Vikings this past week, but the embattled head coach still has plenty of work to do before he finds himself off the hot seat.

The same can be said for Childress' team, which will once again find itself competing under a sense of desperation when it heads to historic Soldier Field this Sunday for a pivotal mid-November showdown with the rival Chicago Bears.

With its season -- and Childress' immediate future as well -- possibly hanging in the balance, Minnesota staged a stirring fourth-quarter comeback to get past the Arizona Cardinals in a 27-24 overtime thriller last weekend. The reigning NFC North champions scored a pair of touchdowns in the final 3:34 of regulation to force an extra period, then came up with a key defensive stop in additional time before moving into range for kicker Ryan Longwell's deciding 35-yard field goal.

Rumors had been swirling prior to the game that Childress was on the verge of being fired, with his hasty and surprising decision to waive mercurial wide receiver Randy Moss shortly after the Vikings' Week 8 loss at New England the impetus for the intended move. The decision was reportedly made without consulting team owner Zygi Wilf, who was said to be furious over having his authority usurped over the matter.

The saga was temporarily overshadowed by another memorable episode in the legendary career of Brett Favre, with the 41-year-old quarterback dipping into the Fountain of Youth and emerging with a personal-best 446 passing yards and two touchdown strikes.

While the improbable victory certainly resuscitated Minnesota's dying postseason hopes, it remains to be seen whether it will have a galvanizing effect with word continuing to surface over the players' growing discontent with Childress. But with still two games to make up in the NFC playoff chase, the 3-5 Vikings will need to put aside their differences if a strong second- half charge is to take place.

The scene is a bit more harmonious in Chicago, where the Bears stand at 5-3 at the season's midway point and trail first-place Green Bay by only a half-game in the NFC North standings. Head coach Lovie Smith's crew will also be entering Sunday's divisional clash with a momentum surge, having rallied for a much-needed 22-19 triumph over still-winless Buffalo last week in Toronto to halt a two-game losing streak.

Chicago also trailed in the fourth quarter of its matchup with the lowly Bills, but cornerback Tim Jennings came up with a critical interception with just over nine minutes to go that led to quarterback Jay Cutler's two-yard touchdown pass to Earl Bennett that put the Bears ahead to stay.

Cutler atoned for a brutal five-turnover display (four interceptions, one fumble) in a 17-14 home loss to Washington on Oct. 24 by throwing for 188 yards and two scores without a pick, while a maligned offensive line that surrendered a troubling 19 sacks over the strong-armed signal-caller's previous three starts allowed just one in Chicago's first outing off a Week 8 bye.

The Bears will now set their sights on ending a two-game skid at home when they take on a Minnesota team that could get one of its top offensive weapons back into the fold on Sunday. Wideout Sidney Rice, who amassed 83 catches and 1,312 receiving yards with eight touchdowns during a breakout 2009 campaign, appears close to returning from a preseason hip procedure that has kept him out of the Vikings' first eight contests. The fourth-year standout has been practicing during the week and is considered a game-time decision.

SERIES HISTORY

The Vikings lead the regular season series with the Bears, which dates back to 1961, by a 52-43-2 count. The teams embarked on a conventional home-and-home split of last year's series, with Minnesota earning a 36-10 rout at the Metrodome in Week 12 and Chicago returning the favor with a 36-30 upset victory in overtime at Soldier Field in Week 16. The Vikings are 0-2 at Soldier Field since last winning there in 2007, and have allowed 115 points in their last three trips to Chicago combined.

The clubs have also met once in the postseason, a 35-18 Bears road win in a 1994 NFC First-Round Playoff tilt.

Smith is 6-6 against the Vikings as a head coach, while Childress is 4-4 against both Smith and the Bears as a head man.

WHEN THE VIKINGS HAVE THE BALL

Favre (1896 passing yards, 9 TD, 13 INT) also matched a career-high by completing 36 of his 47 pass attempts in last week's epic performance, while workhorse running back Adrian Peterson (857 rushing yards, 26 receptions, 8 total TD) had a season-low 15 carries for 81 yards with the Vikings saddled with a sizeable deficit for much of the Arizona game. Expect the play-calling to be considerably more balanced this time around, with Minnesota getting the NFL's second-leading rusher more involved in the game plan to better utilize his remarkable skills. The wide receiver situation is somewhat unsettled heading into Sunday, with Rice a possibility to make his 2010 debut but leading pass-catcher Percy Harvin (40 receptions, 519 yards, 3 TD) a question mark for the game after he experienced a recurrence of migraine headaches during this week's practice sessions. The Vikes would be hard-pressed to replace the dynamic sophomore if he can't go, as he's delivered back-to-back 100-yard efforts and is one of the league's premier return men as well. Favre will still have a few capable options regardless of Harvin and Rice's statuses, however, as wideout Bernard Berrian (18 receptions) posted season- bests of eight catches and 89 receiving yards last week and both tight end Visanthe Shiancoe (24 receptions, 2 TD) and reserve receiver Greg Camarillo (10 receptions) had identical lines of four receptions and 66 yards against the Cardinals.

Keeping the powerful Peterson in check is no small task, but the Chicago defense may be one that's up to the challenge on Sunday. The Bears are permitting just 83.9 rushing yards (3rd overall) and 3.5 yards per attempt on the season and limited Buffalo to a paltry 46 yards on 18 carries in last week's win. A stout front seven is headed up by three players with multiple Pro Bowl citations in middle linebacker Brian Urlacher (55 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 1 INT), weakside starter Lance Briggs (40 tackles, 1 INT, 1 sacks) and domineering end Julius Peppers (20 tackles). Chicago's prized free-agent acquisition during the offseason, Peppers has managed a rather pedestrian two sacks thus far, but the athletically-gifted lineman's ability to draw double teams has freed up counterpart Israel Idonije (25 tackles) to record five quarterback takedowns over the team's last five games. The Bears have been tough against opposing aerial attacks as well, ranking second in pass efficiency defense and having yielded a league-low five touchdowns through the air. Cornerbacks Jennings (34 tackles, 1 INT, 5 PD) and Charles Tillman (47 tackles, 2 INT, 9 PD) are both having strong seasons, while nickel back D.J. Moore (20 tackles, 5 PD) has snared three of the club's total of 11 interceptions.

WHEN THE BEARS HAVE THE BALL

While the Chicago defense has been exceptionally steady all season long, the offense is still trying to find itself under first-year coordinator Mike Martz. The Bears are currently 29th in the NFL in total yards (289.5 ypg) and 27th in scoring (18.5 ppg) and have gotten scant production out of the running game, with top rusher Matt Forte (401 rushing yards, 29 receptions, 6 total TD) having found it hard to discover open lanes behind the team's shaky line. Protection for Cutler (1671 passing yards, 9 TD, 7 INT), who's had his difficulties fully mastering Martz's intricate scheme, has been a major issue as well, with the front wall having given up a league-worst 32 sacks through the eight games. Cutler has often been forced to dump the ball off to Forte, whose 315 receiving yards is the second-most on the team behind wideout Johnny Knox (27 receptions, 527 yards, 1 TD), a dangerous big-play threat who's averaging 19.5 per catch on the year. Bennett (24 receptions, 1 TD) has been coming on of late as the No. 2 receiver, having averaged slightly over 60 receiving yards over the past three tests.

A vaunted Minnesota pass rush that topped the NFL with 48 sacks a year ago is finally beginning to come around after a inexplicably-slow start to this season. The Vikings amassed six sacks against the Cardinals last week, matching the team's entire total over the first seven games, with All-Pro end Jared Allen (26 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 1 INT) breaking through for 2 1/2 takedowns of Arizona's Derek Anderson and linemate Ray Edwards (18 tackles, 3.5 sacks) getting two sacks on the opposite side. Forcing turnovers remains a sore spot for a defense that's allowed the fifth-fewest yards in the league (304.6 ypg), however, with the Vikes having compiled a lackluster 10 takeaways so far. Chicago's struggles in running the football figure to continue for another week against a unit ranked seventh overall versus the run (96.3 ypg). Led by active outside linebacker Chad Greenway (83 tackles, 1 sack) and the Pro Bowl tackle tandem of Kevin Williams (18 tackles, 1 sack) and Pat Williams (17 tackles), Minnesota held the Cardinals to a mere 53 yards on the ground in Week 9.

FANTASY FOCUS

The most reliable sources of fantasy points in this game will likely come from the running backs. Although Peterson failed to eclipse the 100-yard mark in both his 2009 meetings with Chicago's sturdy run defense, the All-Pro back did total three touchdowns and is an every-week starter regardless of the opponent, while Forte's prowess as a receiver helps offset his lackluster rushing numbers and is a solid choice as well. While Favre proved with last week's outburst he's still able to put up big stats, the three-time MVP's overall inconsistency should have his owners proceeding with caution, and the same mantra applies to the often-erratic Cutler as well. Harvin's status needs to be monitored up until game time, but give him the go-ahead if active, while those with Rice on their rosters should still hold off on playing him until he shows he's ready to take on a full allotment of snaps. All other Minnesota receivers carry considerable risk, while Knox is the only recommended member of the Chicago corps. Neither of these teams have been lighting up the scoreboard with regularity, which makes Longwell and Bears kicker Robbie Gould less than appealing options but both defenses worth a long look.

OVERALL ANALYSIS

Last week's uplifting victory may be just what the underachieving Vikings needed to jump-start their fortunes, but having to sweat out a win at home over a mediocre Arizona team still brings a red flag into the equation. The Bears haven't inspired much confidence as well despite their good overall record, so this one really could go in either direction. Count on a hard- hitting battle that will be dominated by the defenses and should be decided by whichever club does a better job of keeping its mistakes to a minimum. Minnesota's current seven-game road losing streak and minus-nine turnover margin are clear warning signs that could sway the outcome in Chicago's favor.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Bears 20, Vikings 16

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