"The guy's a warrior," said Jim Miller. "He came in and had two IVs. He came back out there and made a game breaking play. He got that turnover for us when it was desperately needed. The guy is just unbelievable."
David Terrell sealed the Vikings fate with a nine-yard touchdown catch with just 28 seconds left in the game.
"Initially he (Terrell) was covered I went to my second receiver and he was covered too came back to David (he was) wide open he jumped up and made a play," said Miller, who completed passes to four different receivers during the winning drive
Leading 27-23 the Bears held off a last second effort by the Vikings to win the game. Rosevelt Colvin sacked Culpepper forcing a fumble that LB Bryan Knight recovered ending chances for a Minnesota comeback.
"I really thought the Vikings played an outstanding football game," said Bears head coach Dick Jauron. "We didn't play particularly well early, but I was proud of our football team in the second half, particularly guys that had to step up to play. This is a great way to start a season."
Former Bear D'Wayne Bates didn't take long to hurt his old team. On the Vikings second possession the receiver sprinted past Mike Green and caught a 46-yard pass from Daunte Culpepper setting up first and goal. Minnesota had to settle for a field goal due in part to Brian Urlacher bringing RB Michael Bennett down two yards behind the line of scrimmage. The seven-play drive was capped by a Doug Brien 30-yard field goal, which put Minnesota ahead 3-0.
Marty Booker made an acrobatic catch off a deflection by Vikings cornerback Eric Kelly for a 31-yard catch, which moved Chicago into Minnesota territory for the first time. The reception was a sign of things to come for the receiver as he finished the day with eight catches for 198 yards.
Although, the drive didn't result in points the gain setup the field position game in the Bears favor. Larry Whigham downed a 43-yard punt by Brad Maynard at the Vikings three-yard line.
The defense forced the Vikings into a three and out. Leon Johnson returned the 50-yard punt by Kyle Richardson 19 yards, which gave Chicago the ball at the Vikings 29.
On third and ten Jim Miller stepped away from pressure in the pocket and delivered a 29-yard touchdown pass to Booker. The score put Chicago in the lead at 7-3, but the game would quickly change back in the Vikings favor.
On the ensuing drive Culpepper found Byron Chamberlain wide open in the middle of the field. The tight end caught the ball around midfield and sprinted toward the endzone. Mike Brown saved a touchdown for the moment tackling Chamberlain at the one-yard line. Following a Culpepper incompletion the Bears looked to have made the Vikings settle for a field goal, but Bryan Robinson was called offside on third goal giving the visitors another play. Culpepper lined up in a shotgun formation and ran the ball in from two yards out putting Minnesota back in front 10-7 early in the second quarter.
The Bears answered the Vikings score with a nine-play drive that resulted in an Paul Edinger field goal. The key play on the possession was a 26-yard catch by Booker, who was drilled on the play by Willie Offord. The safety was flagged for a personal foul because he led with his helmet. The 15-yard penalty made the play a 41-yard gain and brought Chicago to the Minnesota 35. A 49-yard field goal by Edinger tied the game at ten.
The Vikings offense continued to move the ball against the Bears defense, which allowed 364 total yards in the game. Another field goal by Brien reclaimed the lead for the Vikings at 13-10.
Chicago was on the move again, but a drop by Booker on third down ended the Bears drive.
With good field position the Bears were in position to get at least a field goal before the half. However, on the first play of the drive Miller fumbled a shotgun snap from Olin Kreutz and DE Talance Sawyer recovered the bouncing ball all the way back at the Bears 33.
Minnesota capitalized on the turnover immediately. Culpepper went to Moss for a 33-yard strike that extended the Vikings lead to 20-10, which they took into the third quarter.
Chicago's offense came out of the lockerroom with a balanced drive. Miller completed passes of 9 and 20 yards to Dez White. Then Leon Johnson broke a seven-yard run. Anthony Thomas followed with an 11-yard gain. A sack of Miller by Chris Hovan brought Edinger on for a 49-yard field goal putting the Bears within a touchdown at 20-13.
Reggie Austin, who came on for an injured R.W. McQuarters, was able to turn away the Vikings offense with his first career interception.
The Bears took over at their two-yard line and moved the ball steadily downfield. Receptions on back-to-back plays by Dez White and Booker of 15 and 24 yards respectively moved Chicago into Viking territory. However, Edinger could not hit his third field goal of the day missing a 43-yard attempt early in the fourth quarter.
The Bears looked to be in serious jeopardy of losing the game when Minnesota tacked on three more points on a 42-yard field goal by Brien with just over nine minutes left in the game. The Vikings moved the ball on the ground gaining 39 yards on the drive via the running game and totaled 136 for the day.
Miller to Booker continued to be the Bears main source of offense. As the duo hooked up on a 54-yard pass on the first play of the ensuing drive. From there the Bears turned to Thomas on the next four plays. He caught a five-yard pass then had runs of 11, 7 and a one-yard touchdown.
"In the first half I think we tried to run outside more on them," said Thomas, who had just 45 yards on 19 carries. "The second half we just came right at them and wore them down. That's what we like to do is wear them down by pounding the same plays at them so when it comes down to the end of the game we are in control."
An Edinger PAT moved the Bears within 23-20 with just over six minutes to go.
Minnesota tried to run out the clock with the ground game, but was forced to throw the ball on 3rd and 13 following a false start penalty. That's where Mike Brown stepped in and picked off Culpepper. A 16-yard return gave the offense the ball at midfield.
The Bears offense took over with 2:34 left in the game. The unit moved the ball patiently, as they didn't want to score too quickly because that would give Minnesota another shot. The offense converted two third downs to keep the clock moving. A 10-yard catch by TE John Davis gave the Bears first and goal from the nine. Miller took the team's final timeout with 35 seconds left.
Coming out of the break Miller scrambled around and found David Terrell open in the endzone. The receiver made a leaping catch with just 28 seconds remaining giving the Bears a 27-23 victory.
"The thing about this team is we fight for 60 minutes no matter what the score is, if you beat us you're going to have to work hard to beat us, you're going to have to play all 60 minutes, no matter what. That's our motto, that's what we do, we play all 60 minutes and try and come up with big plays at the end of the game to try to win," said Brown of the team's attitude about coming from behind.