The Minnesota Vikings will travel to Solider Field to take on the Chicago Bears this weekend, a place where they have struggled lately. In fact, the Vikings have not won on the road in Chicago since 2007. The team only has three players – Adrian Peterson, Chad Greenway and Brian Robison – who have been on the team for the entirety of the losing streak but all the players seem to feel an urgency to win.
When quarterback Teddy Bridgewater spoke to the media on Wednesday, one of the first things he talked about in his opening statement was the streak and how the team wants to end it.
“We’re aware of the streak, or something like that, that we haven’t won in Chicago since, I can’t even remember,” he said. “But the guys are aware of that, coach (Mike) Zimmer, he stresses how important this game is and we know how important it is.”
To put it in perspective, Bridgewater would have only been 14 years old the last time the Vikings beat the Bears in Chicago. He has only played at Soldier Field once in his career, but he still has a desire to break this losing streak.
The biggest reason for his desire to win is because he knows this is an important game for the Vikings. It gives them a chance to go 3-0 in the division and 5-2 on the season with the hardest part of their schedule yet to come.
“Definitely, you don’t want to continue to hear about it, so you want to do something about it,” he said. “We’re pretty aware and Coach Zimmer’s going to continue to stress it throughout the week. Not only about how important it is to end the streak, but to get a victory in Chicago. It’s a divisional game, we’ll have a chance to move to 3-0 in the division, so it will be huge if we can just go in there and execute the game plan that the coaches are going to put together for us to just go out there and play fast and play at a high level.”
The quarterback said Zimmer is primarily the one who brings it up and talks about it, but the veterans talk about it every once in a while, too. This is only Zimmer’s second year with the Vikings, so he has only lost on the road once to the Bears while wearing purple.
Cornerback Captain Munnerlyn actually heard about the streak from Robison and he couldn’t believe that it has been that long, especially with some of the talented teams the Vikings have had in that stretch, such as the 2009 team where they went 12-4 on the season and made it to the NFC Championship Game.
“B-Rob told me about it and I was like, ‘Man, for real?’ I was shocked,” Munnerlyn said. “I was like, ‘Man, the Vikings have been good for a long time. Especially when I was in Carolina those guys were pretty good. They had Brett Favre and all those guys.’ And he was like, ‘Yeah, man, we haven’t won down there since 2007.’ So that’s a motivation for us this week. Go on the road and beat Chicago in Chicago.”
Zimmer likes to motivate his team by telling them all the negative things that people are saying about them, or the negative parts of recent Vikings history, and this losing streak has become another motivation tool for him, even though a majority of the players have not been on the team all that long.
“I like proving people wrong,” he said. “People have doubted me for a long, long time. I hope they keep doubting our football team, because that’s the mentality I’m trying to get them, say what you want and let’s go prove it.”
The Vikings were able to come close to beating the Bears at Soldier Field a year ago under Zimmer and it took a broken clock and a late touchdown for the Bears to pull it off. This year the two teams appear to be heading in opposite directions and it seems to be the perfect opportunity for the Vikings to break the streak.