Vikings TE Jim Kleinsasser played his last game Sunday at the Metrodome, saying he was humbled by the support he has been shown. Plus, get dozens of notes from Sunday's season finale.
played his final NFL game Sunday, the 181st of his 13-year career. He had more than 20 family members in attendance and, while his teammates were still in the locker room getting ready, Kleinsasser and his family were commemorating the moment on the Vikings sideline, getting photos to mark the day.
"The guys have been great, just kind of overwhelming really," Kleinasser said. "I never expected, coming into this game, that anybody would even care if I walked out of the game. I've been pretty humbled and amazed, and felt pretty good about the love that I've gotten this week. I appreciate everyone; I appreciate the fans, my teammates, and my family. It's been a good week."
With Sunday's loss, the Vikings assured themselves the third pick in the 2012 draft, behind Indianapolis at No. 1 and St. Louis at No. 2.
Jared Allen came within a half-sack of the all-time single-season record of 22.5 set in 2001 by Michael Strahan of the New York Giants. Allen need four sacks and got 3.5, moving him into a tie for second all-time with Mark Gastineau of the New York Jets, who had 22 sacks in 1984.
Allen did break the franchise record of 21 sacks set by Chris Doleman, who was in attendance to congratulate Allen Sunday.
In the first quarter, Ryan Longwell kicked a 26-yard field goal – the 134th of his Vikings career. The field goal moved him into second place on the Vikings' all-time field goal list, breaking a tie with former Vikings Fuad Reveiz and putting him behind longtime Viking Fred Cox on the all-time list.
Percy Harvin closed off a spectacular season with 10 catches for 115 yards Sunday, setting career highs for both receptions (87) and yards (967). While he fell short of 1,000 yards for the season, it wasn't due to a lack of effort. In his first eight games, he caught 31 passes for 324 yards and no touchdowns. In his final eight games, he caught 56 passes for 643 yards and six touchdowns, ranking him among the highest in all three categories among wide receivers in the league.
The Bears managed just 10 first downs the entire game and were outgained by the Vikings 301-209, as the Vikings ran 71 plays to just 57 for Chicago.
The Vikings biggest problem was third-down offense – a bugaboo of the team much of the season. The Vikings converted just three of 15 third-down attempts.
The Bears only got the in red zone once Sunday, being forced to kick a field goal. The Vikings got in the red zone three times and came away with 10 points.
The Vikings statistical dominance was consistent. In the first half, the Vikings outgained the Bears 176-103. They would outgain them 125-106 in the second half.
Perhaps the biggest accomplishment of the day outside of Allen's sack record was the job the Vikings did on return man Devin Hester. The Vikings punted to Hester five times – one going out of bounds, two being fair caught and the two he returned going for just four yards. He returned two kickoffs for a total of 22 yards.
Hester's day could have been even worse. In the first quarter following a field goal to take a 3-0 lead, Eric Frampton tackled Hester on the 3-yard line, stuffing him on the kick return. But, the play was nullified when Everson Griffen, who had been called for a penalty on the first Vikings punt of the game, was ruled offside on the kickoff.
With Sunday's loss, the Vikings have lost 10 straight games against the NFC North .
Sunday was the ninth time this season that the Vikings lost a game by seven points or less.
The paid attendance was 62,867 – the 144th straight sellout at the Metrodome.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.