Good morning Horners! It is week 17 in the NFL and the Minnesota Vikings will host the Chicago Bears in a game that most likely rests all of their playoff hopes. It is really easy because if they win, they are in. If they fail to win, their chances to back into the playoffs drop dramatically. The old guys at GMG, Ted Glover, Drew Bunting, and David Stefano focus on what the game should look like.
Everyone concedes that both the Bears and the Vikings defenses are outstanding, so it should come down to a battle of which offense performs better throughout the game. The Vikings have an advantage in more than one way, however, and that is, that the game is at U.S. Bank Stadium and the fans can definitely influence the effectiveness of both teams. A loud crowd absolutely fires up the Vikes’ defense and makes it difficult for an opposing offense to hear and react in a timely manner to the snap of the ball. As long as the fans are in it, this is an extreme force multiplier. The worst thing that can happen is if the Bears quiet the crowd early in the Vikings have to play from behind or play lethargically.
Besides the defense playing well, the offense of coordinator Kevin Stefanski will have to call an effective game where stars like Kirk Cousins can excel against the rush of the Bears’ defense. Most likely this will mean a lot of movement rolling away from that interior rush in helping out the offense of lineman block to protect Cousins long enough to get balls away to open receivers. We’ve seen under Stefanski the increased use of tight ends what Kyle Rudolph and Tyler Conklin, as well as, Dalvin Cook being more active in the passing game. A more effective running game with Cook and Latavius Murray, where runs off tackle or cutbacks into open holes, versus that of a direct attack approach, can yield results too. Those threats, along with Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen can make for an effective squad that can score against one of the best defenses in the league.
Efficiency, winning the turnover battle, and consistency by the Vikings throughout the entire 60 minutes will be keys to winning this game. Every squad, from the offense, defense, and special teams defense will be called upon to play their best football in this crucial contest. Win and they are in. Good luck, and go Vikings!
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