Fans of the Minnesota Vikings had something to cheer about on Sunday afternoon at the Metrodome, but in the end it was more of the same as the home team fell to the Chicago Bears by a score of 17-13.
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.