Free-Falling Bears Won’t Just Lay Down for the Vikings


It doesn’t seem to matter how bad things are going for the Bears and Jay Cutler. They usually have no problem beating the Vikings. Especially at Soldier Field.

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The Vikings’ recent history against the Bears has been one long tale of frustration. Ass-whupping-after-ass-whupping has been visited on the Vikings by the Bears and their perpetually scowling QB Cutler.

Since Cutler joined the Bears in 2009, the Vikings are a dismal 3-7 against their Windy City rivals. They are 0-5 in Chicago in the Cutler era.

Even 2009 Brett Favre was not able to defeat Cutler in Soldier Field, despite a valiant second-half come back effort (things may have turned out differently had Antoine Winfield been able to run with Devin Aromashodu).

Last year the Vikings narrowly missed breaking the curse, losing by just one point to Cutler and the Bears at Soldier Field. This after a run of three years where the Vikings lost in Chicago by an average score of 31-11.

This weekend, the Vikings will return to Soldier Field to take another crack at the Bears and Jay Cutler. Despite the Vikes’ recent ugly history against the Bears, there’s a ton of optimism around Purple Nation right now.

This optimism is a function not just of the Vikings’ recent success but of the Bears’ utter calamitous ineptitude.

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  • The Bears right now are in full-on meltdown mode. Jay Cutler has been a turnover machine. The defense has been a disaster. Marc Trestman is under fire from media and coaches.

    Things hit a new low for the Bears Sunday Night when Aaron Rodgers burned them for 6 TD passes in the first half on the way to a 55-14 Packer win.

    Reaction to the Bears’ meltdown in Green Bay has been understandably harsh. Mike Wilbon’s Twitter rant against the Bears is representative of the feeling around Chicago these days.

    Pinning down exactly what has gone wrong with the Bears this year would take hours of painstaking analysis. Basically it’s been everything. Nothing is going right for the Bears.

    With the team in seeming disarray after one of the worst defeats in franchise history, the Bears must now pull it together and face a scrappy Vikings team riding a two-game winning streak.

    The Vikes are looking like potential contenders after putting together back-to-back gutty victories over the Buccaneers and Redskins. Those two teams are bad, but the Bears are arguably worse than either of them at this juncture.

    Can the Vikings really walk into Soldier Field and score a third straight win against a bad football team, or is this the week the Viking come back down to earth.

    Everything would seem to set up for a Vikings. The Bears are reeling after a run of disastrous games. The players seem to be tuning out the coach and turning on the media. The surly quarterback seems to have checked out mentally.

    Chicago’s defense has crumbled to the point where even basic coverages are a challenge for them to execute. Their offense is a disaster despite loads of talent and a supposed mastermind coach in Marc Trestman.

    The Vikings meanwhile have an improving defense anchored by rising stars Everson Griffen, Anthony Barr and Sharrif Floyd. Their offense has lacked consistency but they’ve shown growth the last couple weeks behind Teddy Bridgewater.

    The Vikings also will be well-rested and well-prepared coming off their bye. Veteran coaches like Mike Zimmer and Norv Turner should, you would think, have taken good advantage of the extra week to formulate an air-tight game plan.

    If ever there was a case of one team catching another team at the right time, this would seem to be it.

    Of course there’s an obvious counter-argument here. Though the Bears have struggled, you can’t underestimate their offensive talent and you can’t underestimate Marc Trestman’s offensive mind.

    I find it hard to believe that the Bears will go on stinking offensively the way they have, with their two great receivers, their fine running back and their big-armed QB.

    Jay Cutler may be erratic, but as the Vikings have learned over the past few years, he is more-than-capable of getting it done on any given week.

    If Cutler has any professional pride at all, you have to expect him to be focused and ready for this game. The Bears’ season really is on the line Sunday afternoon.

    As optimistic as Viking fans are that this is their week to get the Bears, the Bears must be equally certain that the Vikings are a team against which they can regain their confidence.

    The Bears know the Vikings have a better defense this year, but they also know that you can hurt this defense with big plays. They know that if they put pressure on the rookie Teddy Bridgewater, they can more-or-less shut down the Vikings’ passing game.

    Fans who are expecting the Bears to lay down this week like they did against Green Bay are in for a rude awakening. Some look at this match-up and see a very winnable game for the Vikes. But others will see it as an obvious turn-around opportunity for the Bears.

    Though the Vikings have put together a nice run of games, they are still an inconsistent football team with a lot of holes on both sides of the ball. They’ve shown plenty of guts during their two-game winning streak but they’ve also shown some ugly tendencies.

    The Vikings are still young, still prone to mental lapses, still struggling in pass protection. They still have a rookie quarterback who this week will be stepping into a hostile environment against a desperate opponent in less-than-ideal weather conditions.

    It’s easy to look at how the Bears have been playing and how the Vikes have been playing, and conclude that this is almost a sure win for the Vikings.

    But anyone who thinks this will be an easy win for the Vikes is deluding themselves. The Bears will not just check out on the Vikings. The Vikes may end the drought in Chicago this weekend, but it won’t be some magnificent blowout.

    If the Vikes do win, it will be a hard-fought grinding game like the last two. And don’t be at all shocked if the Bears pull themselves together and give the Vikings yet another whupping.

    Things may be different this year for the Vikings, but I don’t know if they’re far enough along to walk into Chicago and beat Jay Cutler and the Bears, even if Jay Cutler and the Bears are currently in a state of meltdown.