Preview: Vikings at Bears
The Sports Xchange
The Chicago Bears have made a quarterback change while the Minnesota Vikings hope to follow suit on Monday when the NFC North rivals meet at Soldier Field.
Second overall draft pick Mitchell Trubisky will make his NFL debut after offseason acquisition Mike Glennon committed four turnovers in Chicago’s 35-14 loss to Green Bay on Sept. 28, while Sam Bradford aims to return after sustaining a knee injury in Minnesota’s season opener.
“I feel like I’m ready,” the 23-year-old Trubisky said. “I’m excited. I’m just going to take it day by day and prepare as hard as I possibly can for every single look and situation we can get on Monday.”
Trubisky faces a tall order against an aggressive Vikings’ defense, which sacked Matthew Stafford six times in a 14-7 loss to Detroit on Sunday and ranks No. 1 in the league in third-down defense (25.6 percent conversion rate).
The Vikings were dealt a brutal blow with the season-ending ACL injury to promising rookie Dalvin Cook in that contest, while Case Keenum completed just 16-of-30 passes for 219 yards. Bradford was limited in his return to practice on Thursday, but coach Mike Zimmer told reporters that “If he’s ready to play, he’ll play.”
TV: 7:30 p.m., ESPN. LINE: Vikings -3. O/U: Off
About the Vikings (2-2)
Signed to a three-year, $15 million deal, Latavius Murray finds himself thrust into the lead-back role after seeing Cook exit following his non-contact injury. Murray, who rushed seven times for 21 yards after the rookie departed, admitted this week that his ankle is not 100 percent following offseason surgery.
While Minnesota lost one impact player, it will see the return of another as Michael Floyd has served his four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
“I’m just going to be aggressive,” the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Floyd said. “I’m an aggressive player. I’m going to go out there and make plays. That’s just what I do. That’s in me, and that’s never going to stop.”
About the Bears (1-3)
Chicago continues to rely heavily on its backfield, with Jordan Howard rolling up four rushing touchdowns while speedy Tarik Cohen ranks fourth among rookies with 331 yards from scrimmage and leads all NFL running backs with 24 receptions.
Howard gashed Minnesota’s defense in both encounters last season, rolling up 202 yards from scrimmage in a 20-10 win on Oct. 31 and adding 135 yards rushing in the finale.
Cohen has 10 more receptions than Kendall Wright, who leads a banged-up wideout corps with 154 yards receiving. Tight end Zach Miller has been limited to just three catches on five targets in the last two games after reeling in 10 receptions in the first two.
1. Minnesota’s Stefon Diggs leads the NFL with 391 receiving yards while fellow WR Adam Thielen is third with 358.
2. Chicago LB Danny Travathan will serve his one-game suspension on Monday for his hit on Green Bay WR Davante Adams.
3. Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph recorded career highs in receptions (11) and receiving yards (117) in a 38-10 win over the Bears on Jan. 1.
PREDICTION: Vikings 23, Bears 17.