Bearing In On Chicago

The Vikings need a win today against NFC North Division opponent Chicago to keep pace with the division and for good vibes heading into the bye week.

It's only the third game of the season, but the Vikings face what could be one of their most important "must-win" games of the season when they face the Bears today at the Metrodome. Not only will the Vikings be heading into their bye week looking to do so on a high note, it will give several of their banged up players time to heal and recharge their batteries for a playoff run in October, November and December.

The Bears have helped with some of the timing for the Vikings. With three of their starters in the secondary out today and middle linebacker Brian Urlacher being termed a game-time decision, the Bears are banged up as well and will have their share of problems trying to keep up with the Vikings high-octane offense.

If last year's collapse taught the Vikings anything, it is the importance of getting victories over the teams they should beat — especially when it comes to division games.

The Bears won't be easy — they never are for the Vikings. But, as long as the Vikings play their game and don't try to go conservative — a problem that has bit them in the past — they should be able to roll over Chicago and head into the bye week on a roll.

* As if the Bears didn't have enough injury problems, tight end Desmond Clark sprained an ankle during the final minutes of practice Friday and will be a game-time decision.
* The Vikings lead the all-time series with the Bears 46-37-2.
* While the Bears have dominated the tone of play at Chicago, the Vikings have ruled to roost the last couple of years at the Metrodome — winning the last two home meetings with the Bears by a total of 29 points.
* The last four Vikings home wins have come by an average of 20 points apiece.

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