Several Former Vikings Will be Wearing a Bears Uniform on Sunday

Oct 10, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Armon Watts (96) warms up before the game against the Detroit Lions at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports

Recently, Vikings Territory published a piece that draws attention to the former Minnesota players now playing with Chicago. According to Dustin Baker, the Vikings will see plenty of familiar faces when the Bears come to town. More specifically, 9 former Vikings are now in a Bears uniform.

Obviously, playing against a division rival brings a certain degree of familiarity. Mind you, both squads are working under new leadership structures. Each side fired their HC and GM following the 2021 season. Even still, these are two teams that will have a good understanding of each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

The amount of players who used to play for Minnesota makes that familiarity even more pronounced. Dustin’s piece offers the full list of names (as well as the tweet below), but some of the more notable players are Armon Watts, Ihmir Smith-Marsette, Riley Reiff, and Dakota Dozier (who is hurt).

Frankly, I still find it surprising that Watts is in a Bears uniform rather than a Vikings one. The young DT showed good pass-rush abilities last season, making him a strong candidate to be the third interior defensive lineman in Ed Donatell’s defense. Clearly, my perspective was misguided.

Watts was among those who were surprised, as he recently explained: “It definitely was a letdown, but it’s part of the game. I had to adapt fast coming over here to Chicago. You know, everything happens for a reason, so I am excited to be here.” He also indicates that he’s looking forward to facing the Vikings: “Is it circled? Most definitely.”

So far, Watts has played 90 snaps along the defensive line. His current PFF grade puts him at 65th overall in their DT rankings.

Regardless of whether Watts plays well, the expectation is likely still for Minnesota to emerge victorious in this one. Put simply, the Vikings’ roster has far more established talent than Chicago’s, so anything less than a decisive win will feel like a letdown.

Plus, it’s perhaps worth mentioning that Minnesota added a former Bear earlier in the week. Khyiris Tonga – a defensive tackle – is now employed by the Vikings. Forced to guess, I’d say we’ll still see mostly Dalvin Tomlinson and Harrison Phillips on Sunday afternoon with Jonathan Bullard and James Lynch in the mix for some snaps.

The upcoming Bears/Vikings game is scheduled to begin at 12 CT this Sunday.