PASSING OFFENSE: A — QB Daunte Culpepper is having his best season. He's completing 73 percent of his passes (73 of 100) for 945 yards (315 per game), eight touchdowns and one interception. Four players have at least 10 catches, led by WR Randy Moss, who has 19 for 215 yards and five touchdowns. The offense is designed around the pass, and so far Culpepper is maintaining the team's explosiveness despite injuries to the top two tight ends, the No. 1 running back, the right tackle and the center. The only concern is nine sacks. That's too many for three games.
RUSHING OFFENSE: B — The Vikings basically abandoned their run in the loss at Philadelphia. They bounced back against Chicago as Onterrio Smith ran for 94 yards and a 5.5-yard average. Smith is averaging 4.7 yards per carry, but hasn't scored a touchdown rushing.
PASS DEFENSE: C-minus — What pass defense? The Vikings' pressure has been poor, and they have no interceptions. St. Louis is the only other team in the league without at least one interception. Bears greenhorn Rex Grossman completed 21 of 31 passes, posted a 91.9 passer rating and led Chicago to the doorstep of an upset before being carted off with a knee injury after running for a late touchdown. The most positive news about the pass defense is the improvement on third down against Chicago. The Vikings entered the game ranked 31st in stopping teams on third downs. Teams were converting 52.4 percent of their third downs. Chicago was held to 36 percent. The Bears were 4 of 10 passing on third downs.
RUSH DEFENSE: D — The Bears tried to run the ball and were successful with 146 yards, a 5.2-yard average and two touchdowns. Thomas Jones ran for 110 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. The Vikings' run defense probably won't get any better anytime soon. MLB E.J. Henderson is expected to be out about a month because of a sprained left knee. SLB Chris Claiborne is expected to miss at least two weeks because of a strained left calf.
SPECIAL TEAMS: C-minus — K Morten Anderson was 2-for-3 on field-goal attempts. Both return teams were decent but not spectacular.
COACHING: B — The Vikings make a lot of unforced errors, such as false starts, illegal formations and lining up offside on defense. They're averaging 8.7 penalties for 60 yards per game. It's hard to judge new defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell, because the defense was a work in progress before the injuries struck. Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan went back to utilizing Randy Moss in the red zone and it paid off.
Grading The Game: Bears
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