Bears-Packers Attracted Vikings Viewers

The Green Bay Packers looked like they were on their way to a 5-0 record and pulling away from the rest of the NFC North, but the Chicago Bears' come-from-behind win Sunday night had a number of Vikings viewing and rooting for their own interests. Now the Vikings get to play those same Bears.

The Chicago Bears' come-from-behind victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night had a number of Vikings among the viewing audience, despite Minnesota being on its bye week.

The Packers had a 7-0 lead after the first quarter that they extended that to a 17-7 lead by halftime, but two Green Bay fumbles in the first quarter in Chicago territory kept the Bears close enough to make a second-half comeback.

"(The Bears) came out in the second half and played a good defensive game. The first half, the Packers pretty much killed themselves," Vikings quarterback Tarvaris Jackson said. "They should have been up 21-0, but that's when you have to take advantage of the opportunities and that's what coach has been preaching – you've got to hit our shots when we get in the red zone. They should have been up 21-0, but it was 7-0 and they ended up losing the game, probably because of those plays in the first half."

Jackson should know all about how turnovers can decide the outcome of a game. In the Vikings' Week 2 overtime loss to the Detroit Lions, Jackson threw four interceptions that helped keep the game close. In overtime, after Jackson had left with a groin strain that has kept him sidelined since, Brooks Bollinger fumbled the ball near midfield, which contributed to a game-winning field goal for the Lions.

In truth, though, despite the Vikings now facing a Bears team on Sunday that has renewed life, Chicago beating Green Bay may have been the best thing for the Minnesota's NFC North divisional hopes, however distant they may seem at this point with a 1-3 record.

"If they would have won that game, (the Packers) would be 5-0 with a tight grip on the NFC North. But that will all play out later in the year," cornerback Antoine Winfield said. "You never know how things are going to turn out. We could go on a 12-game winning streak or whatever. We kind of go week-to-week with everything."

One Viking who was watching the game probably never thought he'd be rooting for the Bears. Wide receiver Bobby Wade, who made 15 starts in 40 games played with Chicago in just under three years with the team, said despite being released from the Bears in 2005, he still caught himself rooting for them because of how a Green Bay loss would appear to help the Vikings long term.

"In a funny way, yeah. I kind of found myself (thinking), how does this work? But no doubt, because you want to give yourself an opportunity as a group, as a team to get in the playoffs," Wade said.

But now the Vikings get to face a Bears team with renewed hope, upping their record to 2-3 after their 27-20 comeback at Lambeau Field.

Last year, the Vikings-Bears game at Soldier Field on Dec. 3 provided Jackson with his first action as a pro. After Brad Johnson threw four interceptions, Jackson came on in relief and completed 3 of 4 passes.

"Hopefully it's not as cold as it was last year," Jackson said. "But I'm excited about going there and playing against the Bears. It's a division game and they beat us twice last year."

The Bears went on to win the conference title while the Vikings slid to a 6-10 record. This year, the Bears enter the game 2-3 while the Vikings are 1-3 and are looking for early help to get them back in the hunt for better things ahead with an upset of the Bears.

"Green Bay and Detroit losing kind of gives us an opportunity to get right back into the thick of things," Wade said.


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