Goal to Go

Here's one last look at the key matchups for today's game between the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears.

Minnesota (7-4) at Bears (4-7)
Noon, today, FOX (Ch. 32)

Bears quarterback Chad Hutchinson vs. Vikings defensive linemen Kevin Williams/Lance Johnstone
Hutchinson was 2-7 in Dallas before being cut and spent most of his time surfing before the Bears called. As bad as Craig Krenzel and Jonathan Quinn have been, Hutchinson has nothing to lose. Then again, the Bears sure do.

Hutchinson will get his first start this season and face two legitimate pass rushers, who have combined for 15 of the Vikings' 25 sacks. With tackle John Tait out, scrub Aaron Gibson is pressed into action on an already depleted offensive line.

Vikings receiver Randy Moss vs. Bears cornerback Charles Tillman
Moss has nine touchdowns and is averaging 14.5 yards a catch despite missing three games with a hamstring injury. Moss has had a field day against the Bears, including a career-high 204 yards receiving at Soldier Field in '99.

Tillman will start for the first time since Sept. 19, when he injured his knee against the Packers. "Peanut" picked off Daunte Culpepper's pass intended for Moss to preserve last December's 13-10 win. Tillman won't be the only guy covering Moss, but it's a tough matchup for anybody.

Injury report
VIKINGS: PROBABLE: WR Randy Moss (Hamstring); G Dave Dixon (Knee). DOUBTFUL: LB Raonall Smith (Concussion).OUT: C Matt Birk (Abdomen)

BEARS: QUESTIONABLE: DT Tommie Harris (Ankle); FB Bryan Johnson (Foot); DE Adewale Ogunleye (Leg); LB Marcus Reese (Foot); LB Brian Urlacher (Leg). DOUBTFUL: T John Tait (Knee). OUT: QB Craig Krenzel (Right Ankle)

The series
Minnesota holds the all-time series advantage over Chicago with a 47-38-2 record since the Vikings began play in 1961. The Bears have won four of the last seven meetings over the last three years, highlighted by a series sweep in 2001.

Home not so sweet
The Bears are one of 12 NFL teams that are under .500 at home this year with a 1-4 record following the loss against the Colts on Nov. 21. Following Chicago's 6-2 mark at Soldier Field last season, the Bears have now lost four home dates for the first time since going 3-5 at Memorial Stadium in 2002. The last time Chicago lost four times in one season at Soldier Field was 2000 when the Bears also went 3-5. Chicago went 7-1 at home in 2001, the final season before the refurbishing of Soldier Field. The Bears will attempt to improve their home mark this season against a Minnesota team that is 2-3 on the road this year.

News & Notes
Nine opening-day starters have combined to miss 42 man-games to injury, including three on injured reserve: FS Mike Brown (Week 3), QB Rex Grossman (Week 4) and ORG Ruben Brown (Week 12).

If DT Tommie Harris (knee, ankle) and ORT John Tait (knee) both miss Sunday's game, as expected, the Bears would be down to just five players who have started every game this season. If Tait is unable to play, it will snap his streak of 61 straight starts.

--WR David Terrell has already established a career best with 482 receiving yards on just 28 receptions. His 17.2-yard average in ninth in the NFL.

--The Bears have had two or more takeaways in five of the last six games.

--The Bears have five defensive TDs, tied with the Ravens for best in the league, and each of the returns has been for 45 yards or longer, with three of 70 yards or more. The Bears had one defensive touchdown last season. The Bears' four interception returns for TDs ties the all-time franchise record.

--The Bears lead the NFL in third-down defense, allowing opponents to convert just 27.3 percent of their opportunities. Four of their last five opponents have converted less than 20 percent of their third-down opportunities.


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