BEARS PLAYER TO WATCH: OLB Robert Quinn. The 31-year-old continued his bounce-back season last week by registering his 18th sack and breaking Hall of Famer Richard Dent’s club record (17 1/2) set in 1984. Quinn’s career high for a 16-game season is 19 sacks with the St. Louis Rams in 2013. He has at least one sack in eight straight games, including two against Minnesota in Week 15.
VIKINGS PLAYER TO WATCH: QB Kirk Cousins. After missing the last game on the COVID-19 reserve list, Cousins is back to close his fourth season with Minnesota, a third one without the playoffs. Cousins needs 29 passing yards to reach the 4,000-yard mark for the sixth time in seven years as an NFL starter.
KEY MATCHUP: Bears OLB Trevis Gipson vs. Vikings RT Brian O’Neill. Gipson has emerged as another productive pass rusher with 6 1/2 sacks in the absence of star Khalil Mack, who had foot surgery after his season ended after seven games. O’Neill has been the team’s most reliable blocker.
KEY INJURIES: Bears DT Akiem Hicks (ankle) played last week after missing five of the previous six games. … Quinn (shoulder) and WR Jakeem Grant Sr. (ankle) didn’t practice on Wednesday. … Bears TE Jesper Horsted, who played at Roseville Area High School, just 8 miles northeast of U.S. Bank Stadium, and had a TD catch last month against Minnesota, is on injured reserve. … Vikings DT Michael Pierce (illness) missed the last game and did not practice on Wednesday. … CB Kris Boyd (ribs), who started the last game for the injured Cameron Dantzler (calf), did not practice on Wednesday. Dantzler returned as a limited participant.
SERIES NOTES: The Bears have won three straight games at Minnesota, and the road team has won seven of the last 10 games in the series. … This is the fifth time in six years at U.S. Bank Stadium that the Vikings have hosted the Bears in the final game of the season.
STATS AND STUFF: Bears coach Matt Nagy, who is 5-2 against the Vikings, enters what could be his final game on the job with a 34-30 record. He’s 0-2 in the playoffs. The only Chicago coach to leave with a winning record since Mike Ditka in 1992 was Lovie Smith, who went 81-63 from 2004 to 2012. … The Bears joined Green Bay last week as the only NFL franchises with 800 wins counting the playoffs. … The Bears planned to start rookie QB Justin Fields, but he landed on the COVID-19 reserve list on Thursday to put his status in doubt. Fields, who is 2-8 as a starter this year, missed the last two games with an ankle injury. … WR Darnell Mooney has a career-high 929 receiving yards and has a chance to give the Bears a 1,000-yard receiver for the third straight year after they went four consecutive seasons without one. Allen Robinson hit that mark in 2019 and 2020. … Vikings coach Mike Zimmer also enters what could be his final game on the job. He’s 71-56-1 and 2-3 in the playoffs. … With 124 receiving yards, Vikings WR Justin Jefferson will set the franchise single-season record. Randy Moss (2003) has the 16-game record with 1,632 yards. Jefferson last week became the fifth Vikings player with 100 receptions in a season, joining Cris Carter (1994 and 1995), Moss (2002 and 2003), Adam Thielen (2018) and Stefon Diggs (2018). … Vikings DE D.J. Wonnum has six sacks to tie for the team lead. He had three sacks and a forced fumble against the Bears in the last meeting. … Vikings LB Eric Kendricks set a franchise career record for most games as the team’s leading tackler (59).
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