3 Storylines for Vikings-Bears

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears
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The Minnesota Vikings are set to take on the Chicago Bears on Monday night to conclude the Week 12 slate.

The game has some added importance for the Vikings seeing as they have an opportunity to move up in the NFC standings and gain ground on the Detroit Lions in the NFC North division. Here are 3 storylines to keep an eye on heading into that game.

The First Divisional Rematch for Minnesota

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears
Oct 15, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell talks with an official in the second half against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time this season, the Vikings have a rematch with one of their divisional opponents. The Vikings won their first game against the Bears by a score of 19-13, relying on their defense to come up with a couple turnovers down the stretch to capture a win.

Jordan Hicks had a very timely 42-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown in the second half, which proved to be enough to steal the win on the road. Justin Fields also injured his hand during that game, and he sat out four weeks in a row before returning to the field last weekend against the Lions.

Will Jefferson Return?

Oct 8, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) before the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

For the third week in a row, the Vikings have listed Justin Jefferson as questionable for Monday night’s game against the Chicago Bears. The star wide receiver has been out of the lineup since Minnesota’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, but the Vikings have gone 5-1 without him.

Getting Jefferson back in the lineup will be key for the Vikings as they make a second half push for a playoff berth, and they have a huge opportunity in front of them on Monday night. Both the Detroit Lions and Seattle Seahawks have already lost this week, meaning Minnesota can take over the No. 6 seed in the NFC while also moving within 1.5 games of the Lions for the NFC North division if they win.

Who Leads the Way in the Vikings Backfield?

3 storylines
Sep 14, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison (2) during warmups against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The running back spot has been a question for the Vikings dating back to the very start of the offseason. Alexander Mattison has been utilized as a bell cow back a lot this year, but it hasn’t necessarily come with a ton of success.

Since Cam Akers tore his Achilles, Ty Chandler has gotten his first few games with extensive carries, and especially against Denver, Minnesota was able to put together tons of production on the ground. Now against a tough Bears defense (allowing just 3.4 yards per carry this season), the Vikings have a big challenge in front of them.

The last time these two teams met, Minnesota was able to put together just 46 yards on their 22 carries. Mattison had 18 of them for 44 yards. The Vikings will need to be much better in that department on Monday night if they want to secure another win.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.