Here are the keys to victory for the Minnesota Vikings vs. Bears in Week 15.
There is still an outside shot of the Minnesota Vikings making an unlikely playoff appearance, which is an achievement in itself after starting the campaign at 1-5 before completely turning things around after the bye. However, there is no more margin for error following their loss at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 14.
Mike Zimmer will know more than anyone what is at stake. Another Vikings loss would see attention turned to a critical offseason period for the organization as they look to ease some substantial financial worries due to COVID-19 revenue losses and its impact on the salary cap. But the head coach will not want the season to go out with a whimper over the next three games.
Standing in their way of getting back to .500 once again are the Chicago Bears, who Minnesota has already beaten earlier in 2020. This represents a sudden-death situation for two 6-7 teams and whoever comes out on the losing side can kiss their chances of postseason football goodbye.
Here are four keys to victory for the Vikings as they look to secure yet another win over an NFC North rival.
Key to Victory No. 1
Protect the edge
The Bears normally have a field day against the Vikings and their suspect interior protection. This makes it even more essential that the likes if Riley Reiff and Brian O’Neill continue their eye-catching recent form and protect the edge sufficiently enough to allow quarterback Kirk Cousins to go through his progressions.
Khalil Mack will be objective No. 1 for Minnesota. The edge rusher is still one of the best in the business and although he is dealing with a shoulder problem, it shouldn’t be enough to keep him off the field for such a pivotal game.
If the Vikings can resist pressure flying at them from wide areas, it will give their chances of success a huge shot in the arm.