Sammy Sleeves was the starting quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings when they took to Soldier Field for Monday Night Football against the division-rival Chicago Bears. However, just like in the videos from earlier in the week, he didn’t look like himself. He had a slight limp at the beginning but it quickly got worse as the game wore on. It was clear from the beginning that he was worried about that left knee and clearly favoring it.
Sam struggled to move the ball and see the field. Every snap, it looked like his biggest worry was his knee, not finding the open man. Watch him here on this safety. His timing is clearly off. Any QB, let alone a veteran like Bradford, should know that this ball needs to get out RIGHT NOW or there are going to be serious consequences.
The defense came to play again today. Andrew Sendejo has become a player I didn’t know he could be, earlier in his career. You don’t see him stick out in coverage (which is a good thing), though that is his weak spot. Sendejo loves to hit people. He is great in run help and REALLY good at laying the wood to wide receivers who dare to come over the middle of the field on him. Markus Wheaton learned the hard way.
Stephon Diggs was having issues with his upper leg all game and was rendered essentially useless. Bradford was finally pulled in favor of Case Keenum and the move saved the football game for the Vikings. I’m not calling Zimmer a genius in this situation. Everyone was calling for the change after seeing Bradford for 1 or 2 plays.
The Vikings needed Adam Thielen to have a big day. It didn’t necessarily show up in the box score. Thielen finished with 34 yards on 5 receptions but he also had a big run play. You can see it below. These two plays by Thielen were essential to the Vikings’s first scoring drive, which eventually led to a Case Keenum-Kyle Rudolph Touchdown, and the greatest TD celebration of all-time. A good-old-fashioned game of Duck-Duck-Gray Duck. Forget the goose people. This is Minnesota.
The Bears dug into their bag of tricks multiple times. It is clear they were aware of who the better team was on this field. But, they were successful in it. No greater than this fake punt. After an extra point, the Vikings led 10-9.
That was until Jerick McKinnon got the ball on this pitch and saw the red sea split, before taking it to the house. There is a big block by Kyle Rudolph on this play, which Rudolph isn’t known for. McKinnon had his best game and implanted himself as the clear #1 running back, now that Dalvin Cook is out for the year with a torn ACL.
Chicago was able to move the ball sporadically, and Mitch Trubisky looked like he definitely has a future in this league. But, they need a fake punt earlier and a little splash of luck on this play, which was a couple fingers away from an interception, or at-least a 4th down. Instead, touchdown Bears. After a triple-option run by Trubisky on the 2-point conversion that would have Emory Bellard blushing, it was a tie-game again.
Play slowed for awhile in the 2nd half after the tie but heated back up as we approached the 2-minute mark. The Vikings were driving but stalled out just past midfield and gave the ball back to the Bears with 2 minutes left.
Now, if you are a Minnesota fan like me, the game is over at this point. We have seen it 1,234,567,287,187 times. Mitch Trubisky is about to drive down the field, win this game, and be the greatest rookie of all-time for the next week. It was setting up for a classic Minnesota let-down.
BUT, Trubisky would only get one throw. Harry The Hitman wasn’t having any of that shit.
After a negative run play that would have pushed the FG back to a nervous distance…. especially in this state…. the Vikings were able to push it up to a distance that didn’t even have me nervous. As long as you don’t have a 3 on your jersey and the last name – Walsh.
So the Vikings squeaked out a close one against a bad team, that on paper, they should beat by 17. But the game isn’t played on paper and the Vikings have been terrible in Chicago. We will take any win we can get in that horrible stadium. Sam Bradford had to leave due to his injury before the 1st half was even over and they still took it home. Be happy Minnesota.
Next week the Vikings come back home, where they have been much better (7-4 since it opened last year). The fans want to get the bad taste they still have, after watching the horrible showing the Vikings had vs the Lions, the last time they stepped on US Bank Stadium turf. The game could also decide who is top-dog in the NFC North, as we pass the 1/3 mark of the regular season.
Minnesota Sports Fan @RealMNSportsFan
(Photo: Matt Marton, USA TODAY Sports)