After picking up a first down with short passes on game’s opening drive, Sam Bradford found Cordarrelle Patterson in single coverage deep and the duo exploited it for a 39-yard gain to the 20-yard line. One play later, Jerick McKinnon finished off the six-play drive by taking a swing pass 16 yards for the touchdown and an early 7-0 lead less than four minutes into the game.
The Bears started by gashing the Vikings in the run game, gaining 48 yards on the ground and pushing into the red zone, but when Matt Barkley threw for Alshon Jeffery, Xavier Rhodes came down with the interception.
The Vikings drove into Bears territory again on their second drive, thanks to passes of 15 yards to Kyle Rudolph and 17 yards to Matt Asiata. Bradford added a 24-yard scramble to the mix after starting the game 7-for-7 for 100 yards in the air and the drive continued into the red zone. The Vikings couldn’t convert the possession into a touchdown, but Kai Forbath opened the second quarter with a 21-yard field goal to give Minnesota a 10-0 lead.
After the damage Jordan Howard did on the first drive, the Bears switched it up with Jeremy Langford on their second drive and he fumbled away his second carry and Anthony Harris recovered at the 35-yard line. Kyle Rudolph got all 35 of those yards over two catches, capped with a 22-yard touchdown for a 17-0 Vikings lead with 12:51 left in the first half.
It was Rudolph’s 29th career touchdown, a franchise record for a Vikings tight end and Bradford was 10-for-11 for 144 yards and two touchdowns at that point.
The Bears got back to their running game to milk much of the game clock in the second quarter. They ran 12 times on a 17-play, 85-yard drive before Cameron Meredith took a reverse and threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Barkley to cut the Minnesota lead to 17-7 with less than 2 minutes to play.
When Jeff Locke punted away the Vikings’ next possession, Bralon Addison mishandled the punt and Jayron Kearse recovered, giving Sam Bradford another shot. He took advantage with an 11-yard pass to Rudolph, a 7-yarder to Adam Thielen and a 1-yard touchdown to Jarius Wright for a 24-7 lead with 18 seconds to play.
But the scoring wasn’t done just yet. Deonte Thompson returned the kickoff 64 yards and Cameron Meredith hauled in a 31-yard pass to put Connor Barth in position for a 29-yard field goal to cut the Minnesota lead to 24-10 at the half.
STATS: Bradford finished the half completing 17 of 22 passes for 188 yards and three touchdowns. Rudolph had seven of those receptions for 75 yards. The down side was that the Vikings had given up 130 yards rushing.
The Bears drove into Vikings territory on their first drive as they continued to run on the Minnesota defense, but after getting inside the red zone, Trae Waynes picked off Barkley at the 11-yard line.
The Vikings drove inside Chicago territory, but when Bradford threw for Cordarrelle Patterson in the end zone, Cre’Von LeBlanc came away with the interception as the game moved to the fourth quarter.
The Bears moved near midfield, but the Minnesota defense held on fourth-and-1 and took possession at the Bears 40-yard line. A 22-yard pass to Rudolph on the second play moved the ball to the 13-yard line and, one play later, Jerick McKinnon finished the drive with a 10-yard touchdown run for a 31-10 lead with 12:11 to play.
The defense continued to live off the big play on the next series. On third-and-3, Linval Joseph and Danielle Hunter shared a sack of Barkley and Joseph forced the fumble. When Anthony Barr swatted the ball forward, Everson Griffen recovered on the 20-yard line and ran it in for a touchdown and a 38-10 lead with 9:51 left in the game, a lead that held up until the end of the game.
STATS: Braford finished the game with the NFL’s single-season completion percentage record at 71.6 after completing 25 of 33 passes for 250 yards, three touchdowns and one interception against the Bears. Rudolph also finished as the Vikings’ single-season leader in receptions by a tight end with 83 catches on the season. Rudolph had 11 catches for 117 yards and a touchdown on Sunday.