Minnesota Vikings Organizational Future Will Be Decided Sunday vs Bears

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The NFL trade deadline is 2.5 weeks away — on Halloween, actually — which is convenient, given how scary the Minnesota Vikings’ lot in life is, at 1-4, entering week 6 of the 2023-24 season. But their matchup on Sunday, vs the Chicago Bears — also a 1-4 dumpster fire — should feel like a scheduling relief, right?

“Get right game” for Minnesota Vikings

Think about it… an easy win over the woeful Bears, in week 6, would give the Vikings a chance to get their season back on track. The schedule, to this point, has been undeniably brutal. Minnesota’s four losses have come to teams (Bucs, Eagles, Chargers, Chiefs) with a combined 15-4 record.

Related: Kirk Cousins Sidesteps Question About Waiving No-Trade Clause

No matter how much better the Bears have looked in the last two weeks, they do not stack up to any of those teams. With the rise of the Detroit Lions in recent years, Chicago has become the gutter of the NFC North, winning a total of nine games in their last two seasons (9-25).

2nd-year head coach, Kevin O’Connell, is a perfect 2-0 against the Bears, and the Vikings have won five of their last six vs the division rival. Common football sense tells us that Sunday’s contest in Chicago is a “get right game” for the visiting purple.

Life as a Minnesota Vikings sports fan isn’t that easy…

But as a lifelong Minnesota sports fan, I see this game differently. Yes, a matchup vs Justin Fields and the struggle bus Chicago Bears, should be a springboard for the Vikings back into the win column. But what if it isn’t…?

What if Kirk Cousins & Co. — without superstar wide receiver Justin Jefferson — can’t fix their turnover problems. What if it’s raining, wet and cold, which it probably will be? Remember what happened last year in Green Bay, in those same conditions?

Would it shock anyone if Justin Fields runs up, down and around the Vikings defense, on a sloppy Soldier Field, while the Minnesota offense struggles to find a rhythm, without the best wide receiver in the league available to Kirk Cousins? Because it seems like a plausible scenario to me…

A win would give Vikings hope entering week 7 on MNF

Don’t get me wrong, I hope, with all of my sports-loving heart, that the 62nd matchup between the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears this weekend ends up being the “get right game” mentioned earlier in this blog. I’d love nothing more than to have my Minnesota sports fan anxiety flipped upside down.

But fandom is rarely that easy, here, and there’s a lot on the line with Sunday’s game. If the Vikings win, they’ll enter week 7, at 2-4, with their playoff hopes still alive, especially now that three NFC Wildcards make the bracket now.

Related: Jaguars Want Danielle Hunter but May Lack Draft Capital Needed to Entice Vikings

Instead of a sure season-ending knockout punch on Monday Night Football next week, vs the (5-0) San Francisco 49ers, the primetime matchup vs Brock Purdy & Co would become an opportunity — AT US BANK STADIUM — for Minnesota to put themselves back on the NFC postseason map.

And with the 2023-24 Vikings, it’s really easy to flip the narrative back in a positive direction. They have a high-powered offense, with both team and individual numbers that rank near the top of the NFL. By some divine miracle, they have a vastly improved offensive line too.

Even the defense, which ranks near the bottom of the league in most categories, shows flashes of brilliance, under new defensive coordinator, Brian Flores.

So, if the Vikings were to “take care of business” vs the Bears on Sunday, hope would remain alive. And, should they get ridiculous, and parlay a week 6 win with a huge upset next Monday, everyone would be jumping back on the 3-4 Minnesota Vikings bandwagon.

Vikings Firesale imminent with loss vs Chicago Bears

But… if the Minnesota Vikings lose in Chicago, we could see a fire sale out of TCO Performance Center like nothing we’ve ever seen before, as fans of this franchise. They’d be 1-5, with a high likelihood of 1-6, if they lose to the 49ers in week 7. The Tuesday after that Vikings vs Niners MNF game, will be October 24, one week before the NFL trade deadline.

At that point, it would be in the organization’s best interest to fold up shop and start planning for the future. “Tanking” is frowned upon, so we don’t go that route (wink, wink). Instead, we trade/waive all of our veterans who other teams might find valuable, in order to get our younger players more experience.

Related: Vikings Sign Former QB and WR to Practice Squad, in Flurry of Week 6 Roster Moves

That list includes, but is not limited to, franchise faces like Danielle Hunter, Kirk Cousins, Harrison Smith, Jordan Hicks, Byron Murphy Jr, Harrison Phillips, Ezra Cleveland, KJ Osborn, Alexander Mattison, Garrett Bradbury and any others the Vikings do not see as part of their new 3-year “competitive rebuild” plan.

Minnesota Vikings history at Soldier Field

Sure, life at Soldier Field has gotten better for the Vikings in the last few years, but that hasn’t been the case in recent history. From 2001 to 2019, the Minnesota Vikings went 3-16 vs the Bears, in Illinois.

All but one of the losses came in the Windy City, at Soldier Field, where the two squads will do battle again this weekend. But in 2002, Chicago came out on top 27-23 at Memorial Stadium (Champagne, IL), while renovations were taking place at Soldier Field.

But what has happened between these two historic rivals over the last 2.5 decades has very little, if any, impact on how the game will unfold in 2023. There’s no doubt the Minnesota Vikings are better than the Chicago Bears, even without Justin Jefferson.

On Sunday, it’s up to the players and coaches out on the field and standing on the sideline, and prove to the front office that this team has a fighting chance at a postseason birth, even after a dreadful start to the season.

Everyone on Soldier Field with a purple uniform knows what could happen if they lose to the Bears. Let’s see how much fight Kirk and the boys have.

Read all of our blogs about the Minnesota Vikings

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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