By David La Vaque
MINNEAPOLIS — The Bears showed no quit, Vikings players said, despite not threatening in the second half of Sunday’s 38-17 loss.
“Any NFL team is going to come out and give you everything they’ve got,” Minnesota defensive lineman Brian Robison said. “I saw that today. I felt like there was a lot of fight in them today.”
Robison helped ensure the game and the season got away from the Bears early in the second half. His strip sack and recovery of quarterback Jay Cutler’s fumble gave Minnesota the ball. The ensuing scoring drive put the host Vikings ahead by two touchdowns.
Getting to Cutler, which Minnesota did five times, was crucial to the Vikings’ game plan.
“We knew we had to be aggressive,” defensive lineman Tom Johnson said. “We knew he was going to hold the ball and try to go downfield at times, and we needed to capitalize.”
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Johnson contributed a sack and two tackles for loss as the Bears were swept in division play by the Vikings for the first time since 2007.
“We were able to attack and get after them with the front four,” Johnson said. "We didn’t have to do as many blitzes or drops.”
The Bears’ defense, meanwhile, struggled to contain Minnesota’s offense. Even with NFL leading rusher Adrian Peterson hobbled and getting limited second-half carries, the Vikings posted 350 total yards of offense.
Defensive breakdowns helped Vikings’ running back Jerick McKinnon catch four passes for 76 yards and his first NFL touchdown. Wide receiver Stefon Diggs scored from 33 yards out, his first touchdown since the Nov. 1 game at Chicago.
“On those big plays, they did exactly what we thought they would, and we executed,” McKinnon said. “We didn’t miss. Some plays, the linebackers left gaps open. You saw Adrian had a good first five or six carries. Play action was open.”
Despite the lopsided final score, McKinnon felt Sunday’s game played out in the manner expected of a division rivalry. He also saw a team playing better than its 5-9 record, a team taking steps to improve under coach John Fox.
“We said all week watching them on film, they definitely got better from the beginning of the season until now,” McKinnon said. “They’ve got some playmakers both offensively and defensively. That’s a good team over there. We were going to get their best shot, and they were going to get our best shot.”