The Bears will face their longtime division rival twice in six weeks in the second half of the season, facing off in Chicago on Monday Night Football in Week 10 before heading up to Minneapolis in Week 15. Chicago beat the Vikings in both matchups last year by a combined 12 points, and Matt Nagy is 4-0 against Minnesota in his time as Bears head coach.
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Dalvin Cook made a leap last season toward becoming one of the top backs in the league, rushing for a career-high 1,135 yards in 14 games and scoring 13 touchdowns. Even with the weapons Minnesota has in its passing game, a healthy Cook remains the focal point of this offense, and new OC Gary Kubiak will undoubtedly feed him plenty of touches. If Cook can continue his upward trajectory, he’ll be a problem for everyone the Vikings face.
Additions and subtractions
The Vikings made headlines earlier this offseason when they traded star wideout Stefon Diggs after an up-and-down 2019 season. Adam Thielen will certainly help pick up some slack, but Minnesota drafted Justin Jefferson out of LSU to help replace the departed Diggs.
The Vikings also had some longtime defensive starters leave town, with Xavier Rhodes, Linval Joseph and Everson Griffen all walking in free agency. Former Raven Michael Pierce will help replace Joseph on the defensive line, and GM Rick Spielman used two of his top four picks to select CBs Jeff Gladney and Cameron Dantzler to help bolster the secondary.
As has been the case since the Vikings signed Kirk Cousins two offseasons ago, the big question is whether their QB (who signed a two-year extension in March worth $66 million guaranteed) can get them over the postseason hump. He won his first playoff game when the Vikings upset the Saints last January, but doubts remain over his ability to consistently win games in big spots.
If Cousins can rise to the occasion in concert with their elite running game, headlined by Cook, and the Danielle Hunter-led defense, the Vikings will likely be playing in January again for the fourth time in six seasons.Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears.