Reverse the Chi-town Curse

The Vikings of recent vintage have enjoyed success against the other teams in the NFC North, but heading to Chicago has been a headache in recent years.

There is something about heading to Chicago that has brought on bad tidings for the Vikings. In 2001, a Week 2 loss to the Bears at the University of Illinois led to a much-publicized blowup by Cris Carter that fractured the team. In 2002, a season-opening road loss to the Bears was the catalyst to a 0-4 start that killed the Vikings season in September. Last year, a December loss at Chicago can be directly linked to the Vikings missing the playoffs.

So as the Vikes once again head to Chicago as heavy favorites, the curse of Chicago still looms.

Tommorrow's game has all the makings of Vikings blowout, but, then again, so did the last three previous meetings. If the Vikings, as they claim, are looking to bury the past, beating Chicago -- and beating them handily -- is a must.

* The Vikings are just 2-3 on the road, but the Bears have been worse -- going just 1-4 at home and 3-3 on the road.
* Chad Hutchinson will get his first start as a Bear Sunday, making him the fourth different QB to play for the Bears this year. What do you suppose the odds are Jeff George will be the fifth before the game is over? * Matt Birk continues to rehab from his hernia surgery and is still expected to remain out until the Packers game at the earliest.
* Daunte Culpepper has been buried behind the pace set by Peyton Manning, but is still on pace to throw more than 40 touchdowns and currently has a TD-interception ratio of 4:1 (28 touchdowns and seven picks).
* The Bears have two running backs with 100 or more carries this year, while Onterrio Smith leads all Vikings ballcarriers with 88 attempts.
* Nate Burleson leads the Vikings with 50 receptions, but despite missing five games, Randy Moss still leads the team in touchdowns with nine.
* Passing has been the Bears biggest failing this year. While the Vikings average 281 yards passing a game, the Bears are averaging just 132 yards a game.
* The Vikings are fourth in total offense (398 yards a game) and 27th in overall defense (354 yards a game). Meanwhile the Bears are 32nd in total offense and 17th in total defense.

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