CHICAGO — The Minnesota Vikings have little margin for error and loads of room to enhance as they attempt to safe a playoff spot.
Not that Kirk Cousins wanted a reminder. Or, for that matter, coach Mike Zimmer.
Cousins threw two landing passes, and Minnesota beat the struggling and short-handed Chicago Bears 17-9 on Monday evening.
The Vikings (7-7), a part of a good pack of groups vying for one of many NFC’s seven playoff spots, had been in line for his or her most lopsided win earlier than Justin Fields threw a landing go to Jesper Horsted on the sport’s remaining play.
That rating apart, Minnesota withstood a number of scoring threats by Chicago down the stretch coming off a win over Pittsburgh wherein the Vikings almost blew a 29-0 lead.
“I believe now we have work,” Cousins stated. “I believe there’s a lot to enhance upon. We’re enjoying three actually good opponents up forward. We’re most likely going to wish everybody, so there’s not numerous room for error and now we have to tighten the screws right here and play our greatest soccer down the stretch.”
The Vikings’ remaining three video games are at house in opposition to the Los Angeles Rams and at NFC North champion Inexperienced Bay earlier than they host Chicago within the finale. The end result on this one was hardly a shock given the state of the Bears (4-10).
Chicago misplaced for the eighth time in 9 video games, and with 14 gamers on the reserve/COVID-19 checklist, that appeared inevitable. Receiver Allen Robinson was on it, as was the beginning secondary.
The well being points additionally hit the teaching workers, with all three coordinators testing optimistic for the coronavirus through the week. Defensive coordinator Sean Desai was cleared to return hours earlier than kickoff. Offensive coordinator Invoice Lazor was not cleared, so Nagy referred to as performs. And particular groups coordinator Chris Tabor was out.
Cousins, who struggled final week, didn’t precisely dominate on this one. He was 12 of 24 for 87 yards with an interception and received sacked 4 occasions. The 2-time Professional Bowler additionally linked with Justin Jefferson for a 12-yard landing within the first quarter and threw a 7-yarder to Ihmir Smith-Marsette within the third.
Dalvin Prepare dinner ran for 89 yards, after going for 205 in opposition to Pittsburgh in a sooner-than-expected return from a dislocated shoulder.
D.J. Wonnum had a career-high three sacks and the Vikings recovered three fumbles on the best way to their second straight win after back-to-back losses.
“It’s not simply enjoying higher, it’s getting higher,” Zimmer stated. “It’s getting higher within the run protection, getting higher within the go protection, it’s getting higher in safety. It’s getting higher in working the ball. It’s all these issues. We’re attempting to get higher so we are able to get to that spot the place we’ve received to get to.”
For the Bears and their followers, it was one other irritating outing.
Fields threw for 285 yards and ran for 35 in his second recreation again after lacking two with damaged ribs. The rookie accomplished 26 of 39 passes enjoying behind a line lacking each beginning tackles, with proper sort out Larry Borom on the COVID checklist and left sort out Jason Peters out with an ankle harm.
Robert Quinn and Akiem Hicks every had two sacks. Quinn has 16 this yr, leaving him simply shy of Corridor of Famer Richard Dent’s franchise file of 17 1/2 in 1984.
However Chicago dedicated 9 penalties for 91 yards in a sloppy efficiency that had followers once more booing at occasions and making their emotions about coach Matt Nagy recognized, chanting “Fireplace Nagy!”
“That’s been the story, that’s been the story of the yr,” Fields stated. “It’s simply us taking pictures ourselves within the foot. As soon as we remove these penalties, sacks on my half the place I ought to simply throw the ball away, throw the ball all the way down to the bottom — as soon as we remove these, we begin seeing extra factors come up on the board and have extra success. I assumed our entire protection performed nice tonight and put us able to win.”
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