Prime-time for the streaking purple and gold
Chicago Bears (5-8) at Minnesota Vikings (7-6), Monday night -7:30pm
Dare I say, “Are you ready for some football?”
The winter just doesn’t seem so bad when the Vikings are above .500 come the ides of December. The air doesn’t have quite the bite when your team is on a 4 game winning streak, play 2 of their last 3 games at home, and winning the remaining games guarantees a playoff spot for the purple. Weeks 15, 16, and 17 are tailor-made for two types of NFL teams. First they are for the winning teams, to establish positioning while gathering momentum; to brush the weaker teams aside to the links in Florida and Arizona. These weeks are also for the spoiler teams. Those teams with nothing to lose so they suit up and get excited for the only thing left for them to hang their hat on.
I only include the above for the reverse jinx.
Things in the NFC playoff race tightened up a lot between Thursday and yesterday. Up top, Dallas lost and is clinching to the tiebreaker they hold over Green Bay for home field advantage throughout the post season. In the wild card race, the New York Giants continue to look like the worst 9-5 team you’d every want to root for. And while Arizona dropped a game, both New Orleans and Washington at 7-7 are very much alive and keeping the pressure on Minnesota.
Tonight’s game is an opportunity for the Vikings to prove to the rest of the league a number of things. One, that they are going to earn a wild card spot. Two, that whether Adrian Peterson or Chester Taylor runs the ball, you must pay attention to Minnesota’s running attack. Three, that focusing on the Vikes’ running game isn’t going to be enough to beat this team. Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson is coming into his own and has this team believing in him. Finally, it is a chance for the Minnesota Vikings to show the rest of the NFC that this squad is a winner and you don’t want to face them come January unless you’re itching to play some golf.
Chicago 13, Minnesota 20 Final
Only 78 yards today but 2 touchdowns for All Day.
It was all about the purple pants. For the first time since the 1964 season when the Detroit Lions brought only their whites to a game*, the Vikes went all purple for a game. It’s a good look, especially on the likes of Pat Williams.
The Vikings prevailed in this game tonight either because their defense held the Bears to just 209 total yards on offense, a miniscule 32 on the ground; or because Kyle Orton and the Bears offense are hard to look at. Literally. It’s not like the Vikings didn’t provide da Bears with da opportunity for the win with 4 turnovers leading to 10 points in the first half.
Tarvaris Jackson wore his inexperience on his sleeve tonight making multiple poor decisions while under constant pressure from the Chicago defense specifically Brian Urlacher who had a monster game. This week Brad Childress and the coaching staff must address the problems poor QB play leads to, and stress the importance to Jackson of taking the sack when necessary or throwing the ball away if no receiver is open. Jackson made things way too interesting tonight.
Like Ted Knight and Jm J. Bullock, this game was a little Too Close for Comfort.
The 8-6 Vikings will now host the Washington Redskins next Sunday night, the second of their back-to-back prime-time contests in the game of the season. The Skins are on the outside looking in and would like nothing more than to snap the Vikings 5 game winning streak and pull even with Minnesota for the last remaining playoff spot.
*Fact kindly provided by the ever-wise Ryan Walters.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss City Pages' biggest stories.