Vikings-Bears Game Snapshot

<BR><B>KICKOFF: </B>Sunday, 1:00 ET <BR><B>GAMEDATE: </B>12/05/04 <BR><B>SURFACE: </B>Grass <BR><B>TV: </B>FOX, Dick Stockton, Daryl Johnston, Tony Siragusa; DirecTV, 709


Minnesota Vikings (7-4) at Chicago Bears (4-7)

SERIES


88th meeting. Vikings lead series 47-38-2 and have won three of the last four meetings, including this year's first meeting, a 27-22 victory at the Metrodome. That game essentially ended the Bears' season, since quarterback Rex Grossman suffered a season-ending torn ACL while diving for a touchdown late in the game. But the Bears have won three straight at home, including last season's 13-10 victory in Grossman's NFL debut.

2004 RANKINGS

Vikings:
offense 4th (13th rush, 2nd pass); defense 27th (23rd rush, 23rd pass).

Bears: offense 32nd (22nd rush, 32nd pass); defense 17th (28th rush, 10th pass)


KEYS TO THE GAME

With QB Chad Hutchinson becoming the third different starter since Rex Grossman went down, the hope is his strong arm will at least allow the Bears to stretch the field more. Chicago can't hang in this one for long if it can't take advantage of Minnesota's secondary, and until Hutchinson completes a few passes downfield the Vikings can sit on the running game.

It won't be easy since running backs and tight ends will have to be left behind to help the beat-up offensive line.

Defensively, the Bears get MLB Brian Urlacher back and he will play a big role in trying to stop RB Onterrio Smith, who is key in setting up the pass. CB Charles Tillman also returns for the Bears, but the secondary has to do more than just contain the Vikings.

For Chicago to have any chance, the defense must win the turnover battle by a wide margin.


FAST FACTS

Vikings: TE Jermaine Wiggins has 47 receptions for 465 yards, just four catches and 19 yards less than his career totals entering the season.

  • Smith has rushed for 242 yards on 5.5 yards per carry in his last two games against Chicago.

    Bears: Have 23 takeaways after forcing just 20 turnovers all of last season.

  • Tommie Harris leads all rookie defensive tackles with 3.5 sacks.


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