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The Vikings got off to a quick 10-0 lead, thanks to a couple of Chicago turnovers, getting a Ryan Longwell field goal after a fumble by Chicago's Earl Bennett and a 5-yard Percy Harvin touchdown run after a fumble by running back Khalil Bell. However, that turned around quickly thanks to a 22-yard touchdown pass from Josh McCown to Roy Williams and an interception that Chicago's Charles Tillman took into the end zone after it bounced off the hands of Toby Gerhart, quickly turning a 10-0 Minnesota lead into a 14-10 deficit.
Early in the second quarter, quarterback Christian Ponder got sacked by Chicago's Isreal Idonije and needed help to get off of the field, re-aggravating the hip injury he suffered earlier on in the season and bringing Joe Webb in at quarterback. Webb provided a bit of a spark, completing 17-of-32 passes for 200 yards, but could only lead the Vikings to three points in his two-plus quarters of work along with two interceptions, including one to D.J. Moore to ice the game for Chicago.
The Vikings also lost running back Toby Gerhart to a knee injury during the game, and it was revealed afterwards that he suffered a partially torn MCL. That left Lorenzo Booker as the Vikings' only healthy running back, as the team had both Caleb King and Jordan Todman inactive for this afternoon's game.
It was the final game for Vikings' tight end Jim Kleinsasser, who played for the Vikings for the entirety of his 13-year career. After Leslie Frazier stated earlier in the week that the team wanted to get Kleinsasser the ball and work him into the game plan, the burly tight end managed to get neither a carry nor a catch in his final game in purple and gold.
The big story for the Vikings in this one, however, was defensive end Jared Allen. He entered the game with 18.5 sacks, and got on the board early by splitting a sack with Erin Henderson to give him 19. He got McCown again in the second quarter to increase his total to 20, and the excitement at the Metrodome grew every time McNown dropped back to pass.
On the first play of the third quarter, Allen dropped McCown again for his 21st sack of the season, which tied him with Chris Doleman for the single-season record in Vikings' team history. Allen took the record all for himself late in the third quarter, taking down McCown for another sack to give him 22 for the year, and putting him just one sack away from Michael Strahan's single-season record of 22.5* set in 2001.
However, in typical Vikings' fashion, it was not to be. The Bears put a ridiculous number of blockers on Allen for the rest of the afternoon, and he didn't get another sack of McCown on the afternoon. As a team, the Vikings registered seven sacks on the afternoon, with Chad Greenway, Brian Robison, and Kevin Williams getting in on the act as well.
The loss by the Vikings, along with losses by the Indianapolis Colts and the St. Louis Rams, cements the Vikings into the third overall selection in the 2012 NFL Draft, the highest the team has selected since taking Chris Doleman with the fourth overall pick in the 1985 NFL Draft.
That's your season, ladies and gentlemen. The Vikings finish the season 3-13, tied for the worst record in Vikings' franchise history, with a 17-13 loss to the Chicago Bears. We would like to thank you for making SB Nation Minnesota your home for Minnesota Vikings' coverage this year, and hope that you will stay around during the off-season as we analyze the Vikings going forward.
Jared Allen will not be denied, ladies and gentlemen.
With five and a half minutes left in the third quarter at the Metrodome, Jared Allen got to Bears' quarterback Josh McCown again on a 3rd-and-14 play for a six-yard loss. The play gives him 22 sacks on the season, giving him sole possession of the Minnesota Vikings' single-season record that had been held by Chris Doleman (who is in attendance today at the Metrodome and applauded when Allen got the record).
So, with 19:46 of game time remaining against a Mike Martz-led offense, Jared Allen is just .5 sacks away from tying the single-season NFL record held by Michael Strahan, and 1 sack away from taking it for his very own.
Of course, if you don't count quarterbacks taking dives for their friends, Allen might already have the single-season record, but that's another debate for another time.
The Vikings still train the Bears, however, by a score of 14-13 with a little less than five minutes remaining in the third quarter.
On the first play of the third quarter, Allen dropped Bears' quarterback Josh McCown for a four-yard loss. That sack gave #69 2.5 of them on the game, and a total of 21 for the season. That means that he has now tied former Vikings' legend Chris Doleman for the most sacks in a season by a member of the Minnesota Vikings, a total that is also the third-highest in a season in NFL history.
Speaking of records, Allen is now 1.5 sacks away from tying and 2 away from breaking the NFL single-season of 22.5* set by Michael Strahan of the New York Giants in 2001. With Mike Martz running the offense for Chicago, there are going to be plenty of dropbacks going forward, so Jared Allen is certainly going to have his chance.
The Vikings had a 48-yard field goal attempt by Ryan Longwell blocked after Webb came in to replace an injured Christian Ponder, but the team then forced Chicago to punt and moved the ball downfield again. The Vikings got to a 4th-and-1 situation at the Chicago 8-yard line, and after some waffling, Leslie Frazier elected to take the points as Longwell hit from 25 yards out to make the score 14-13.
Of note thus far is that Jared Allen has registered 1.5 sacks of Josh McCown in this game, bringing his season total to 20. He is now one behind Chris Doleman for the Vikings' record for sacks in a season (Doleman had 21 back in 1986) and 2.5 behind Michael Strahan's NFL record of 22.5* sacks in a season.
(You know why the * is next to Strahan's total.)
We're at halftime at the Metrodome, ladies and gentlemen, and the home team trails in this one by a score of 14-13.
On the first play of the Minnesota Vikings' most recent drive, Christian Ponder rolled out to his right to pass and fired an incompletion to Joe Webb. On the play, Chicago Bears' defensive lineman Israel Idonije hit Ponder and landed on him with all his weight, and the rookie quarterback was slow to get up, eventually needing assistance off of the field.
On the sidelines, the trainers appear to be looking at Ponder's right hip, which is the same hip that he's been fighting an injury with for the past few weeks. He was replaced by Joe Webb, who took two snaps before the Vikings were forced to punt the ball away.
Ponder is currently just 4-of-10 for 28 yards and an interception this afternoon, and he is now being taken on a cart back to the locker room.
It looks like it's time for the Joe Webb show to begin in earnest in Minnesota in the season finale, ladies and gentlemen.
The Vikings' most recent drive lasted two plays. The first one was a five-yard loss by Toby Gerhart on an attempted run to the right. The second one was a pass by Christian Ponder that was intended for Gerhart, but bounced off of his hands and right into the waiting arms of Bears' cornerback Charles Tillman. Tillman knew what to do with it from there, as he scampered 22 yards into the end zone for a touchdown, and what had been a 10-0 Minnesota lead has quickly turned into a 14-10 advantage for the visiting team.
The interception for Ponder was his 13th on the season, to go along with 13 touchdown passes for the rookie.
With a little more than thirteen minutes left at the Metrodome, the Minnesota Vikings now trail the Chicago Bears by a score of 14-10.
On their first possession after the Vikings' touchdown, the Bears made their way downfield, sparked by a huge 28-yard run by quarterback Josh McCown on a 3rd-and-8 when it looked like the Vikings had him dead to rights. That allowed the Bears to keep the ball, and they eventually finished the 91-yard drive with a 22-yard pass from McCown to Roy Williams for a touchdown to make it 10-7.
On the drive, Jared Allen split a sack of McCown with Erin Henderson, meaning that he now has 19 on the season, which is two behind Chris Doleman's team record of 21 set in 1986, and 3.5 behind Michael Strahan's NFL record of 22.5.
With about fourteen minutes left in the second quarter at the Metrodome, the Minnesota Vikings lead the Chicago Bears by a score of 10-7.
Vikings' linebacker E.J. Henderson was responsible for the turnover this time, as he hit Bears' running back Khalil Bell, forcing a fumble that bounced right into the hands of safety Jamarca Sanford. It was the second turnover of the game for the Bears, and the Vikings looked to take advantage.
It took them only three plays to do so, as Percy Harvin took the first play around left end, being led by Jim Kleinsasser, to put the Vikings down at the Chicago 5-yard line. After an incomplete pass, Harvin got the ball again, blasting his way up the middle for a 5-yard touchdown run, and Ryan Longwell's extra point increased the Minnesota lead to 10-0.
The Minnesota Vikings are playing to win this one, folks, and with 3:34 left in the first quarter, they lead the Bears by a score of 10-0.
After the Vikings were forced to punt on their first possession, Benny Sapp (who, apparently, was not disciplined for his exploits earlier this week) caused a fumble by Bears' wide receiver Earl Bennett. It was not initially ruled a fumble, but Leslie Frazier threw the challenge flag and the replay showed that Bennett fumbled before being down by contact, with the ball clearly being recovered by Minnesota.
So, the Vikings took over near midfield, and after a nice run of 24 yards by Toby Gerhart and a nice pass from Christian Ponder to Percy Harvin on a third down, the Vikings' offense stalled in the red zone and was forced to settle for a 26-yard Ryan Longwell field goal.
With 8:46 left in the first quarter at the Metrodome, the Minnesota Vikings lead the Chicago Bears by a score of 3-0.
The full inactives lists for both teams were released on Sunday prior to kickoff. Here are the players that will not be participating in the Week 17 matchup:
Minnesota Vikings Inactives:
This list comes to us courtesy of the official Vikings Twitter feed.
Chicago Bears Inactives:
The Bears inactives list is via Gene Chamberlain at CBS Sports.
The Minnesota Vikings are taking on the Chicago Bears to close out their season, and though they're in line for a top pick in the 2012 NFL draft and some fans would prefer the team to maybe lose these kinds of games, the team themselves would love to hand their NFC North rivals a loss. They're also trying to see some more good things out of their younger players to give them some hope and a better idea of where they're at heading into next season.
Quarterback Christian Ponder is one of those players, who has been banged up with an injury, but is expected to get the start, either way. Ponder has looked good this season, and wants to show Minnesota that they don't need to be tempted by any of the very good quarterbacks potentially coming to the NFL next season. It will be a harder game though, what with Adrian Peterson suffering a big injury.
Game Date/Time: Sunday, January 1st, 1:00 p.m. ET
Location: Mall of America Field, Minneapolis, MN
TV Schedule: FOX (TV Distribution Map)
TV Announcers: Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, Tony Siragusa
Radio: KFAN FM 100.3
The Chicago Bears have already been without Jay Cutler and Matt Forte, and they may be without Brian Urlacher and Marion Barber on Sunday when they close out their injury riddled season against the Minnesota Vikings. Urlacher missed his second straight day of practice on Thursday with a knee injury and Barber did not practice again due to a calf injury.
The good news is that Devin Hester (ankle) was a full participant on Thursday after being limited yesterday. Julius Peppers also returned to practice on Thursday after missing Wednesday's due to a non-injury related matter.
Here is the full injury report for the Chicago Bears:
Did not participate
Did not participate
Did not participate
Did not participate
Not injury related
Did not participate
Did not participate
Did not participate
As of this morning, it was being reported that quarterback Christian Ponder would start this weekend in the Vikings' season finale against the Chicago Bears. Well, he was a full participant in practice on Thursday, which should bolster that possibility. That has to be disappointing news for Joe Webb, who led the VIkes to a win last week against the Washington Redskins, despite having to deal with the team losing its star running back Adrian Peterson for the season with a torn ACL.
Here is the full injury report for the Vikings:
|Allen, Asher||CB||Shoulder / Concussion||FP||FP||-||-|
|Cook, Chris||CB||Not Injury Related||Out||Out||-||-|
|Herrera, Anthony||G||Lower Back||DNP||LP||-||-|
Christian Ponder was knocked from Sunday's win over the Washington Redskins, but has passed all the necessary tests this week and is expected to start the regular season finale against the Chicago Bears. it was rumored that Joe Webb would possibly get his first start of the season after leading Minnesota to a win, but it appears now that the rookie Ponder will start:
Ponder has passed all the necessary tests and is ready to come back for more against Chicago on Sunday. Ponder saw a neurologist on Tuesday and was cleared to play, so he will start in the season finale.
"I guess I actually scored higher on my baseline tests so maybe I got some sense knocked into me," Ponder deadpanned on Wednesday after returning to practice.
Webb was 4 of 5 for only 84 yards against the Redskins, but two of his passes went for touchdowns to Percy Harvin and Kyle Rudolph. Webb also rushed for 34 yards and a touchdowns ans Minnesota broke a six game losing streak in a come from behind win.