4 keys to victory for the Vikings at the Bears in Week 10

(Photo by Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports) Kirk Cousins
(Photo by Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports) Kirk Cousins /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports) Kirk Cousins /

Move the chains on third down

One of the main reasons why the Bears have been so successful on defense this season is their ability to get off the field on third down. Chicago is giving up 4.4 third-down conversions per game on average in 2020 – which is ranked No. 7 in the NFL – so this is a problem that the Vikings need to solve on the road.

This is not an area where Minnesota has excelled this season. They are ranked dead last in the league with 3.9 third downs converted on average through their first eight games and if this trend continues on Monday night, it is going to become a real problem.

The Bears do their best work on third down. They are able to generate pressure with a four-man rush which makes it immensely difficult to get people open quickly. So it needs to be a collective effort from the Vikings to move the chains consistently.

Minnesota does have the tools to make improvements in this area, providing their protection holds out. Expect to see the tight end duo of Tyler Conklin and Kyle Rudolph heavily involved over short to intermediate yardage, with Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen also able to make a difference due to their polished route running.

Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins also has a significant amount of responsibility on his shoulders. Minnesota has done a nice job of taking some of the pressure off their signal-caller, who has thrown just 34 times over the last two contests. But there will come a time when the Vikings will need him to produce the goods when it matters most.